Man steps in to help woman who was being attacked in Norwich

Neil James Earl <cor> who came to the aid of a woman being attacked at Anglia Square. Picture: Denise Bradley Neil James Earl who came to the aid of a woman being attacked at Anglia Square. Picture: Denise Bradley

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
9:09 AM

A Norwich man has told how he stepped in to stop a nasty attack on a woman in the city – and how he was spurred on by memories of the murder of a former colleague.

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Neil Earl, a student studying Fine Art at the Norwich University of the Arts (NUA), was walking from a friend’s house through Anglia Square when he heard a woman screaming and appearing to be strangled.

Mr Earl, who works at the TV and Movie store at The Forum, said initially he moved away to put a call into police before returning to see what was happening.

He added: “I saw the woman being attacked and strangled. A small group of people had formed and some people were walking past like it wasn’t happening – that’s what upset me more than anything.

“I shouted at the attacker to stop but they wouldn’t so I kicked them in the thigh and they still wouldn’t stop so I had to kick the attacker in the head.

“The first kick dazed the attacker and the second kick knocked them onto the floor and I just ran away.”

Mr Earl later contacted the police to describe what happened.

The 29 year old, who lives off Tombland in the city, said he was not a “tough guy”, but felt compelled to act, especially after the “upsetting” memory of what happened to security guard Paul Cavanagh.

Mr Cavanagh, 30, was stabbed to death on December 18, 2006, at the Chapelfield HMV store by shoplifter David Watson, of Hackney, east London who was jailed for 24 years after being found guilty of murder.

Mr Earl said: “I worked at HMV at the time. It’s really upsetting to see. I’m not a tough guy at all but I don’t stand for that sort of thing. Especially against women.

“No one was doing anything and there was a woman quite clearly screaming so I had to do it.”

The alleged attack happened on Monday, July 15 close to Anglia Square.

Norfolk police declined to comment but confirmed the case was being investigated.

• Scott Mace, 45, from Templemere, Norwich, has been charged with assault by beating following an incident in Magdalen Street on Monday, July 15.

He has been released on conditional bail to appear before Norwich Magistrates Court today<30>.

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