THE wife of a father who was brutally beaten by three teenagers while defending a boy in a park is dismayed that one of his attackers could be released this month.
Alan Willson, 47, suffered catastrophic brain injuries after being beaten and hit with a log by a gang of boys on Easter Sunday last year.
He had stepped in after they bullied a child.
The vicious attack at Longcroft Park, Worthing, left him in hospital for three months, with his family being told the carer might not survive.
His brain injuries were so severe that more than a year after the attack he is still unable to speak, write or “point at a picture card”.
Brothers George, 14, and Archie Tilley, 16, were jailed for 12 years, while 18-year-old accomplice Harry Furlong was jailed for 20 months.
However, Alan’s wife Annie found out in a call from the probation service that Furlong could be paroled later this month.
Furlong, who was found guilty of aggravated assault without intent, was not classified as a dangerous offender and it was ruled that he would serve half of his 20-month sentence, minus time spent in pre-trial detention since his incarceration in June Detention and half into the community on license.
Annie said she was asked by the parole service what additional conditions she wanted included in the terms of Furlong’s release.
She said: “We were not at all happy with 20 months but the justice system is taking what they have to take off as soon as he enters a prison.
“If I had known, I would have appealed. As a family that has never been in trouble with the law, you don’t know how to deal with these circumstances.”
Annie said the lack of clarity surrounding Furlong’s release has compounded the ordeal for her and the family and that her confidence in the justice system was “shot to pieces”.
She said: “Life is very hard. I haven’t really spoken to my husband in over a year. I miss it – I miss it a lot.
“Daily life is very difficult for him. He knows what he wants to say, but he just can’t say it. If he’s in pain, we don’t know he’s in pain.
“I can not help it. I have to get on with life to support Alan and keep his spirits up.”
George and Archie Tilley, aged just 13 and 14 at the time of the attack, were sentenced to extended 12-year sentences with a maximum of nine years imprisonment and a three-year license after being found willfully guilty of GBH.
While Annie said she’s “satisfied with that,” she said the “least thing” she wanted for Furlong was to serve his year-long license, saying, “He shouldn’t be out until January.”
The Justice Department said Furlong spent 112 days in pre-trial detention before being sentenced, with a spokesman saying it was “only a possibility” that he would be granted a domestic curfew and instead remain in prison for half his sentence would.
He said: “This was a horrific crime and our sympathies remain with Mr Willson and his family.
“Sentencing is a matter for independent judges and no decision has yet been made on whether Harry Furlong will be released on home detention charges.
“Those subjected to severe conditions, if broken, may be recalled to prison.”
Prisoners serving a specified standard sentence of at least 12 weeks but less than four years may be considered for release before their automatic release date under the program.
Offenders are then subject to strict permit requirements, including a mandatory electronically monitored curfew of at least nine hours a day.
The Justice Department also said the warden can add additional terms to the license “if appropriate”.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20673204.worthing-teen-attacked-dad-released-month/?ref=rss Worthing teenager who assaulted father could be freed this month