Teens guilty of attack which left Worthing dad with life-changing injuries

Three teenagers have been found guilty of beating a father to within an inch of his life at a park in Worthing.

Care worker Alan Willson, 47, was attacked in Longcroft Park, Durrington, on Easter Sunday last year.

After a trial lasting more than a week, a jury today found two boys under the age of 16 – who cannot be named for legal reasons – guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

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Harry Furlong, 18, of Horsham, was cleared of causing grievous bodily harm with intent but found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm.

Care worker Alan Willson, 47, was attacked in Longcroft Park, Durrington, on Easter Sunday last year. Photo: Sussex Police

Mr Willson suffered life-changing injuries after confronting three teenagers after another child said one of them had pushed them over in a row over a frisbee, Lewes Crown Court at Hove was told.

He was beaten with a wooden log and left with 'severe' brain injuries and multiple fractures, the court heard. He was not expected to survive and has made a 'limited recovery'.

Gemma White, prosecuting, said: “A lot of this is common sense. The log is covered in Mr Wilson’s blood at one end. DNA from the boys is at the opposite end. They wielded a log and it caused him to bleed quite significantly."

Furlong, wearing a blue shirt and tie, claimed he stood back while the other boys 'laid into him', and demonstrating the action in court, said the boys held the logs above their heads and hit the victim repeatedly.

Harry Furlong, 18, of Horsham, was cleared of causing grievous bodily harm with intent but found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm.

He said he shouted at them to stop, adding: "It was way too harsh."

The two younger boys then allegedly ran, the court heard, and Furlong said: "My head was all over the place so I followed. I was scared. I didn’t know what to do. I was anxious and nervous.”

Simon Shannon, defending Furlong, said: "His behaviour overall was in stark contrast to the other defendants’. He was very much on the periphery."

Miss White said it was 'incredible' and 'quite frankly ludicrous' for the younger boys to have suggested they were unaware of Mr Willson bleeding.

She said: "What other intention could there have been other than to cause serious harm?

"With blows with a log like that to the head and face and when a man is bludgeoned with that weight, there is only one intention. That is to cause really serious harm. That was clearly successful.”

Her Honour Judge Christine Henson QC remanded the boys in a youth detention facility. Furlong was remanded in custody and was warned he faced a custodial sentence. The three are expected to be sentenced on July 1.

More to follow.