Son still in coma as cops seek new witnesses

Pic: Zetson

Croydon police are repeating an appeal for witnesses regarding a violent assault that left a father in hospital and his son in a coma last year.

Gary Hayward, 28, was left in a “non-responsive condition” after being attacked by a group of around 30 teenagers on the evening of October 2, 2011.

Officers had responded to reports of fighting in New Addington’s Central Parade at around 8:45pm to find Hayward and his father, John, with serious wounds. The latter, in his fifties, was later discharged from hospital.

Four people have been arrested over the past year in connection with the incident, all  on suspicion of grievous bodily harm, but all have been released without charge.

Hayward, a father of three, seemed set to recover after emergency surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain – although he was left blind in one eye. But in November he slipped back into a coma and has yet to wake up.

Hayward’s mother, Wendie, said that he was attacked while trying to rescue father John from the gang, which had been menacing him for months. John had gone shopping and phoned home to say he was in trouble.

She told the press the attackers were armed with baseball bats and metal poles, which police believe were stored in a car park for an attack against a gang from nearby Fieldway.

She said: “The doctors don’t know when he will wake up. It could be six months, it could be six years…but I’ll be here as long as it takes. I’m not going to miss him waking up.”

Detective Inspector Paul Kerr, of Croydon’s Criminal Investigation Department, said: “It has been a year since this violent attack on a man and his son in New Addington, but we remain determined to find those responsible.

“We still believe there are people in the community that may have information that will help us with our investigation…whether you witnessed the incident, or if you’ve heard information about it, then please get in touch so that we can bring the people that committed this violent assault to justice.”

Kerr said all witnesses would be subject to “utmost confidentiality” and would be treated sensitively.

Anyone with any information should contact Croydon CID on 020 3276 2172, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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