THUGS who punched a grandfather unconscious after being confronted over ripping a drainpipe from his home have left him in fear.
Lorry driver Tony Jerome, 50, punched and kicked on the ground outside his home in Walmer Road, in Fratton, Portsmouth, as his wife watched on in horror at the daylight attack.
Detectives are hunting for his three teenage attackers after he suffered a cricket ball-sized lump to the back of his head, a cut to his ear and cuts and bruises on his elbows.
Dad-of-four Tony had shouted ‘that’s clever wasn’t it?’ from his home at two teenage boys and two girls after one of them had ripped a drainpipe from his wall on Saturday.
When he saw the main antagonist on Sunday at 12.35pm he alerted his neighbour and went to speak with the boy.
‘He’s grabbed hold of me, I’ve grabbed hold of me and the next thing I’m flat out in the middle of the road,’ Tony told The News.
‘I must have been out for the count waiting for the ambulance.’
His attackers fled as Tony’s neighbour started toward them as the assault unfolded.
The grandfather-of-six added: ‘I must’ve been completely knocked out, they must’ve pushed me back with a bang in the head.
‘When I came round and saw my neighbour I didn’t even recognise my wife. It just happened so quickly from the point of going over to them and that was it.’
But now Tony is fearful of reprisals when he goes back to work and his 58-year-old wife Djenane Vermeulen, known as Jane, is at home on her own.
Jane saw the trio attack him on the ground as she stood in the doorway. She said: One moment he was walking towards them and the next he was on the floor. It was a shock and it will stay with me for the rest of my life.’
A man living opposite called police after spotting the attack from his bedroom window, Jane added.
She rushed to his aid when the yobs fled. She said: ‘He was saying “I can’t remember” he couldn’t understand when he was on the floor, then five minutes later the police turned up.
‘They were asking him “do you know where you are” – he didn’t know where he was, he didn’t recognise me.’
Tony was taken to A&E at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham where he needed six stitches to the top of his ear.
The teenager who ripped down the pair’s drainpipe on Saturday was wearing a beanie hat and is thought to be the same boy who punched Tony on Sunday.
Police said the trio on Sunday were white, between 16-20, were wearing puffa jackets and jeans.
Tony and Jane have been left with a £100-£250 bill to replace the drainpipe, which was run over by a van just after it was pulled from the house.
Detective Constable Samantha Barber said she wants people with any information to come forward.
DC Barber said: ‘I am appealing (for information from) anyone who may have been in the area at the time of this incident.’
One of the teenagers punched Tony and all three kicked him on the ground.
Call 101 quoting 44180450121.