Today’s Evening Standard carried a story that brought painful echoes of a former life when I lived in South London.
A regular 20-something guy was walking home on Saturday evening in West Dulwich and was attacked for no reason by a group of young lads.
The story brought an uncomfortable reminder of when I lived just down the road in Crystal Palace around 3 years ago.
I came home after a night out and was walking down the road when a group of lads surrounded me and one of them smacked me round the mouth.
Fortunately, a taxi driver appeared from nowhere and scared my attackers off, despite their protestations that they had done nothing.
Physically, I got away with nothing more than a fat lip and sore nose, but psychologically, it made me incredibly nervous and jumpy when walking anywhere in the area.
My attack was completely unprovoked – the only reason seemed to be that I was a bloke walking along a road on my own.
I feel sorry for Mr Hewitt Jones – not for the obvious physical beating he underwent, but for the subsequent fear and paranoia that he will now inevitably undergo when he next finds himself out on his own.
The physical wounds heal fairly quickly, but the emotional scars stay far longer.