CCTV operator saves life of Horsham attack victim

A man who was viciously attacked by three thugs in Horsham has thanked a CCTV operator for saving his life.

Luke Talbot, 21, and brother Max Talbot, 22, both of St Christophers Close, and 20-year-old Jason Engleby, of Bostock Avenue, attacked him in The Pavilions leisure centre car park. The victim was walking home from the nearby Chameleon club at 2.20am on Saturday, July 23 last year. He suffered stab wounds to the body caused by a broken bottle, serious head injuries from punching and kicking, and a fractured wrist from which he still suffers.

At Lewes Crown Court, Luke Talbot was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison, Engleby to two-and-a-half years and Max Talbot to five months.

Alert CCTV operator Keith Wilkins saw the attack on his camera, moved the camera to capture the whole incident and alerted local police, who soon released CCTV stills to and other media.

The victim, who asked to remain anonymous but is now 30, exclusively told The Resident: “I don’t remember too much about it. The first I remember is a police guy telling me to stay down because I was bleeding so much. The CCTV man saved my life because I lost a lot of blood very quickly. I think I was unconscious for a few hours, apart from waking up for a second when the police got there.

“I don’t know why they attacked me. I was carrying my phone and wallet, but they didn’t take them. I still have a very big problem with driving a car because I can’t use the full movement of my right hand, but I’m happy that everything in court has finished and grateful for the support I’ve had from my friends and family.

“I’m happy that the three men are in jail and have time to think about what they did.”

Max Talbot was arrested late on the day of the attack. Luke Talbot and Engleby were arrested in the early hours of the next morning.

Max Talbot and Engleby initially claimed they had been set on by a group of people, but admitted lying about this after police showed them the CCTV footage. Luke Talbot did not answer any questions put to him by police but eventually admitted wounding with intent. After trials, Engleby was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and Max Talbot convicted of causing actual bodily harm.

Det Con Matt Wilson told “This was a completely mindless and vicious assault on a man minding his own business and walking home from a night out. Two of the defendants tried to maintain that they were provoked and acted in self-defence, but the court found there was quite clearly no evidence whatsoever of that.

“The police CCTV, which is operated in conjunction with Horsham District Council, shows that they mounted an utterly disgraceful attack on an innocent man, who still suffers both physically and emotionally.”

Mr Wilkins received an Outstanding Front Line Award citation during a police ceremony for West Sussex officers and staff.

The citation read: “The victim was punched, kicked and stabbed twice. Moon (Mr Wilkins’ nickname) alerted the local controller, who despatched officers to the scene. They arrived within minutes to find the victim unconscious and bleeding profusely. Moon then directed the officers to the route the offenders had taken when fleeing the scene, allowing for the weapon to be recovered.”

Mr Wilkins is pictured with Cllr Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, at the awards ceremony.

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