Homeless pair reveal shock at being doused with icy water outside Castle Mall in Norwich
PUBLISHED: 08:13 16 January 2016 | UPDATED: 17:11 16 January 2016
Archant Norfolk 2015
Two homeless men, one an Army veteran, today told of their shock after a Castle Mall security guard threw cold water on them as they slept.
Anthony Borg, 36, and Anthony Reynolds, 31, described the trauma of being awoken by a fellow street sleeper to find everything they owned had been drenched.
The pair were outside Castle Mall in Norwich last Sunday evening when their friend, 21-year-old Matthew Fort, began shaking them.
“I got woken up and I thought, ‘What’s going on here?’” said Mr Borg, a father-of-two and former member of the Royal Green Jackets.
“And then the security guy started laughing behind the door and going, ‘That’ll teach ya’.” Castle Mall and its security contractor have both apologised over the incident and a security worker has been suspended.
Mr Reynolds said if they hadn’t been woken by their friend, both he and Mr Borg may have frozen to death.
“If it had just been me and him, we would have died, but luckily Matt started screaming and shaking us,” he said.
Just two nights before the incident the men had been asleep in the same undercover area when Mr Borg’s head was stomped on by a drunken passer-by.
They say both incidents are examples of the disrespect that the general community has for street sleepers.
“At the end of the day we’re humans, we are, but people look down on us,” Mr Borg said.
“How could you do that to another human? All he had to do was say, ‘can you move on please’. We could’ve lost our lives that night.”
Derek Player, general manager at St Martins Housing Trust, said Norwich had generally been a safe place for the more than 200 homeless living in the city.
“The community, the city and the county have always been extremely generous to us as a charity and the service we provide to homeless people,” he said.
“I wouldn’t like to think we’d have a situation like London whereby some street sleepers are harassed.”
St Martins have organised temporary housing for the trio, providing them an opportunity to recover from their ordeal.
For Mr Reynolds, he hopes last weekend’s traumatic experience will prove a turning point in his life.
“I’ve got this one little chance to start again and I’m not going to let it slip,” he said.