Calls are made for unity after brutal hammer attack

Roof-running louts reported in Cowplain

CALLS have been made for a public meeting to be held to bring together the shocked community where a teenager was left fighting for life after a hammer attack – and to help people provide information that may snare the attacker.

The 17-year-old was attacked at a terraced house in Shearer Road at 7pm on Monday, with a weapon thought to be a hammer.

Pratik Brahma, 42, who runs Shearer Convenience Store on the same road as the house where the attack happened, reflected the community’s mood.

He said: ‘There should be a public meeting.

‘Everybody should get together because in the last seven years being here I have never seen anything like this.

‘I know most of my customers by name. It’s very difficult to establish what’s going on.

‘It’s the worst thing – you don’t expect it.

‘Now I’m scared as a shopkeeper. I don’t know who is going to come into my shop of an evening time when I’m on my own. They should be caught as soon as possible.’

But he doubted there would be a meeting as ‘everybody has busy lives’, he added.

Charmaine Sprake, the manager of the Shearer Arms, along the road from the scene, reiterated Mr Brahma’s sentiments.

She said: ‘It is quite scary. They need to find whoever did this. I saw all the police and ambulances turn up.

‘A lot of people around here drink in the pub and everyone is shocked.

‘We should have a community meeting so we can get the facts straight.’

Phil Randell, 35, of Hampshire Street, the next road along, said: ‘I don’t want to answer my door now. It is scary.’

Police said the victim was in a serious but stable condition at Southampton General Hospital last night.

Officers were conducting door-to-door enquiries and scouring the area for clues yesterday, and forensics teams were examining the house.

Cllr Julie Swan, Fratton ward councillor, called on the police to release further information to put the community’s mind at rest.

She said: ‘We need to press the police for more details; we don’t know who we are meant to be looking for.

‘How can we put an appeal out to track down this person when we don’t what they look like, or how tall or short they are?

‘I could have walked straight past them.

‘We just don’t know. The police must have an idea.

‘Everyone needs to get behind this.’

Yesterday the community remained in a state of shock after the horrific events of the night before.

Many residents gathered in the street outside as around a dozen police officers and detectives were carrying out door-to-door enquiries, asking neighbours for information.

Several forensic officers, dressed in protective suits, were examining the house, including the doorway where the attack is understood to have happened.

They were carrying out fingertip searches and taking away samples for analysis.

The house next-door to the attack was having its locks changed.

Yesterday evening a police spokesman confirmed the girl was in hospital and said that enquiries would be continuing.

Anyone with information should call 101, quoting reference 44160137858.