Lewes councillor punched in face in ‘scary’ random attack

Sean MacLeod and his dog, Hara
Sean MacLeod and his dog, Hara

A Lewes councillor was subjected to a ‘scary’ attack in Newhaven while out with his dog.

Sean MacLeod, district councillor for South Heighton, Ringmer and Ouse valley, said he was punched in the face and pinned up against a wall by a man walking three dogs in Cantercrow Hill, Newhaven, on Friday (August 9).

It was scary – how quickly it went to zero to 100.

Councillor Sean MacLeod

The 33-year-old said: “It was completely random. I got a phone call from my neighbours saying that my dog was going a bit crazy – which was unusual.

“I was going out for the day but I came back to check on him.

“When I went in the house I totally forgot that I left my door open so my dog, Hara, bolted outside.

“I ran outside and managed to get him back and a man came round the corner with three dogs and Hara ran up to them.

“I told the man I was trying to get him back and explained the whole situation and why he wasn’t on a lead and he wasn’t having any of it. He then came over and punched me in the face.”

Mr MacLeod said he grabbed his phone to call the police but he was attacked by the man again.

“He grabbed me by the throat and pinned me up against the wall,” he said.

“I grabbed his shirt to push him out of the way. The police could hear it all on the phone but he was shouting that I was assaulting him.”

He continued: “He also took a dislike to Hara and kicked out his leg towards him to shoo him away.

“Hara is submissive and goes to the ground when anyone comes near him.”

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Mr MacLeod said his dog, Hara, sprinted to the downs when the man was ‘kicking off’.

“I said to him, ‘look mate, pack it in’, but he carried on,” he said.

After the attack, Mr MacLeod went to rescue Hara from the downs and when he came back police were there.

“The police were brilliant,” he said, adding: “They said they were going to look for him.

“I just can’t believe how quickly it went from nothing to full on escalation, which is quite alarming.

“It was scary – how quickly it went to zero to 100 and I was just thinking, where did that come from?”

Mr MacLeod luckily only suffered minor injuries in the attack. He said the man’s nail caught his eye, which he said was stinging for a couple of days.

“I’m fine now,” he said, adding: “There’s no doubt I will see the man again as I live round the corner.”

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “On Friday morning (August 9), we received a report that a 33-year-old local man had been assaulted by another man who struck him on the chin after a dispute about the alleged behaviour of their respective dogs in the street in St Leonards Close, Newhaven.

“The man who struck the blow walked off with his own dogs.

“Police attended and searched the area but the man was not found.

“The man who was attacked did not report seeking medical treatment.

“Anyone with information can contact the police online or by calling 101, quoting serial 836 of 09/08.”