Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Thursday, June 19, 2014
The family of a young England fan who could lose his sight in one eye after a nightclub assault has issued a warning ahead of tonight’s big game.
Ryan Warren, 18, has undergone an operation to reattach the retina in his left eye after being hit with a glass bottle at Wonderland nightclub in the city’s Riverside at about 11.50pm on Saturday night during the 2-1 defeat to Italy.
Mr Warren has been told he will have to endure further operations but might not yet regain sight in the eye following the assault, which is being investigated by police.
But as fans prepare to descend on pubs throughout the city and beyond to see the key clash with Uruguay in Sao Paulo, Mr Warren’s family have released this thought-provoking image of his injury in a bid to warn others what might happen.
His grandmother Christine Wooster, from Wymondham, said: “Just be very, very careful. Just watch yourself, don’t drink too much – I know it’s easy to say – but just be aware, be aware that these things can happen and don’t go to places where they’re drinking in bottles and glasses.”
The 68-year-old mother of three and grandmother of five said she wished her grandson, who is from Attleborough, had stayed at home to watch the football rather than having gone into the city to watch it and hopes his picture might act as a warning as what might happen.
Police are continuing to investigate the “significant eye injury” suffered by Mr Warren in the assault which is believed to have happened in the aftermath of England’s equaliser which sparked an outbreak of disorder at the venue where bottles of beer were being sold for 80p in glass bottles rather than plastic bottles.
Police attended and made six arrests - including one male on suspicion of actual bodily harm and drugs offences and two others on suspicion of assault - although the assault on the teenager was not reported until Monday as Mr Warren had already been taken to hospital.
No one from the club was available for comment and a message on its Facebook page said: “Wonderland is closed until further notice, we are sorry for any inconvenience”.
Inspector Ed Brown said in 99% of cases across Norwich and Norfolk people had a good and safe time in pubs, clubs and bars, with police receiving reports of just six football- related incidents on Saturday, including Wonderland.
He said: “We saw what can happen when you get a mix together of large amounts of people, a lot of alcohol consumed, glass bottles and a moment of excitement or tension in the match.
“The premises had chosen to run 80p for a bottle of beer. It attracts people to come in and consume a lot of alcohol before the match and once they’ve had a fair bit of alcohol...that’s when people get hurt.
“It remains to be seen what Wonderland are going to do. We’ve said to the licensees that we believe the promotion that they were running was a direct contributory factor to that incident happening.”
Insp Brown said he did not know if the venue would be open tonight but if it did open, offering the same type of promotion, then officers would consider enforcement options.
In addition to the incident at Wonderland, police also received a report of someone being hit with a bottle at Matlings Cue Club in King’s Lynn which has since been visited by officers.
Police have renewed calls for licensees showing the game to use plastic glassware to avoid any repeat of the incident at Wonderland.
Insp Brown said: “The constabulary has always advised that no glassware should be used by licensed premises during live sporting events due to the serious injuries glass can cause if used as a weapon.”
Anyone with information about the assault should call DC Graham Kett at Norwich CID on 101.