A PARALYMPIC hopeful has told how he and his guide dog were beaten up by thugs.
Richard Twose, who is partially blind, was walking Bates near his home on Redlands Lane, Fareham, when he heard the dog yelp out in pain.
The 35-year-old told The News: ‘I’d been in the house all day so I felt guilty that I hadn’t walked Bates.
‘I decided to take him out for walk. That’s when I heard him yelp in pain.
‘I turned around and a split second later I was pushed into the fence and kicked in the stomach.’
Mr Twose was attacked on a footpath behind Young Bridge Court, off Redlands Lane, near the Bus Rapid Transit route, just after 6pm on Wednesday.
It is believed that he was attacked by two men, who were both over 5ft 10ins tall.
‘I was lying on the floor trying to protect myself,’ he said.
‘I could just make out feet kicking me.
‘I couldn’t tell how many there were, but there was definitely more than one person.’
Bates managed to guide Mr Twose home who called 999.
When he woke up the next day, Mr Twose said he couldn’t stop being sick so called an ambulance.
At hospital medics told him he had suffered a bruised pancreas which could now hinder his job as a personal trainer.
Mr Twose is a successful athlete and is currently in training for the Rio Paralympic Games.
He has won a total of 13 medals in the World Transplant Games.
He said: ‘The doctors have advised me to rest until next year.
‘My back hurts, my stomach hurts and my hips hurt. I’m normally a confident person.
‘This has knocked my confidence. I won’t go out again after dark.
‘It’s knocked Bates too. He was needy yesterday.
‘Me and Bates together are strong, but without each other, I don’t know.
‘I just hope he is going to be okay.’
Mr Twose, who partially lost his sight 13 years ago because of diabetes, has had Bates for eight years.
Bates is going to spend the weekend with carers so that he can rest and recuperate. Mr Twose will spend the weekend with his girlfriend, Claire.
Tim Stafford, mobility team manager for guide dogs in Southampton, said: ‘We were horrified to hear of this cowardly attack on Richard and Bates.
‘Without Bates, Richard would lose his freedom and independence.
‘In this case Bates safely guided Richard back home but our dog care and welfare experts will be monitoring Bates closely.’
Police are appealing for witnesses. If you can help, call PC John Cupper on 101.