A trainee chef left fighting for his sight after being brutally beaten in a suspected ‘hate attack’ today asked ‘why me?’.
Daniel Stringer-Prince, 17, was repeatedly kicked and punched by a mob of up to eight people after falling over as he was chased down in Hyde, Manchester.
In the beating he suffered a fractured skull, two broken eye sockets and faces having his right cheek rebuilt with a metal plate.
Daniel has managed to open his left eye a little although his right one remains closed. Surgeons will now assess how much long-term damage there is to his sight.
His friend Kavan Brown, 17, also had his nose broken in the unprovoked attack.
The gang of attackers were all Asian and the police are treating the incident on Saturday night as a race hate crime.
The teenager said as they passed a kebab shop a man inside banged on the window, produced a knife and made a throat-cutting gesture before chasing after them.
Speaking from his home in Woodley, Stockport, he said: ‘After a while we had to give up running because there was nowhere for us to go. They were older than me.
‘One of them grabbed me, so I grabbed him back. He hit me in the face and that’s about all I can remember.
‘Next I remember Kav coming up behind me saying “It’s all right, I’m here for you”. Thank God he was there.’
A taxi driver who witnessed the attack pulled over and called an ambulance for the teenagers.
Daniel said: ‘I’m upset and feel really down. Why me? I don’t know why they chose me.’
His mother Cheryl Stringer, 44, a care home adviser, said: ‘They are evil thugs who picked on two innocent lads.
‘Daniel has come home from hospital but will need to see a specialist in the next few days to assess the damage to his right eye. Thankfully he is able to open his left one a little. Daniel was punched and was then pushed to the ground and kicked in the head. They also took his wallet.
‘I cried when he opened his one eye—it was a huge relief, we were fearful he would lose his sight completely.’
She added: ‘Daniel doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke and he doesn’t do drugs. He’s a quiet lad. Maybe that’s why they picked on him and Kav, because they’re both such good, innocent lads.’
Kavan said: ‘I just can’t understand why it happened. ‘I’d never seen any of them in my life before but they seemed to pick us out as we walked down the street.
‘They split us up and we each had five of them attacking us, it was horrific. When they ran off, I saw Daniel on the floor, he was conscious but in a really bad way.
‘I’m still in shock at what happened to me but it’s even more horrendous to see your best mate in the state he’s in and now we’re all just praying he’ll be okay.’
A police spokesman confirmed the attack was being treated as a hate crime, although it is understood there were no racist or other comments directed at either victim.
Police said there were seven or eight offenders who are described as being Asian, in their late teens or early 20s.
Detective Inspector Dave Moores said: ‘One man has been left seriously injured while another is nursing less serious cuts and bruises.
‘I completely understand why this would cause some legitimate concern in the community, but I do not want anyone to jump to any conclusions about this.
‘This type of incident is unusual in Hyde, but that does not lessen the impact on the victims, their families and the wider community.’