Wife of man left unable to speak ‘horrified’ teen attacker could be free in weeks

The wife of a man left brain damaged and unable to speak after a teen gang battered him with a log says she is “horrified” one of his attackers could be released within weeks.

The three youths beat care worker Alan Willson to within an inch of his life leaving him with “no mental capacity” last year.

The 46-year-old from Worthing, Sussex, was left with bruising and bleeding on the brain and fractures to his skull, eye sockets, jaw and ribs.

He had confronted the three boys over a bullying incident at Longcroft Park on Easter Sunday in 2021.

They then brutally attacked him, with Mr Willson left in a coma and needing to spend three months in hospital.

Harry Furlong, 18, was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm and was jailed for 20 months at Lewes Crown Court earlier this year.

Such was the severity of the assault, the judge felt fit to name the other two young attackers.

Archie Tilley, 16, and 14-year-old George Tilley were found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent.

They received nine years, with three additional years on license.

But the Willson family say they have just discovered that Furlong could be released in little over three weeks’ time.

They decision, they were told, was made because the teenager has already spent time on remand, having been jailed in June.

Annie Willson told ITV the news has left her at breaking point, saying the last few years have been “atrocious” for the family.

“I have done nothing but fight tooth and nail for this man and I feel like I am hanging on by my fingernails,” she said.

“Everyone thinks justice has been done but coming out after two months, that’s not justice.”

She added: “Emotionally I am a wreck. I can’t allow my feelings to be shown, because I have children and they rely on me. Our whole life has been turned upside down – our plans have been shattered.”

Mrs Willson said her husband had been intelligent before the attack and, while she says he still is and has progressed well since returning home, there were “lots of things in between that people don’t know about.”

The court heard how the teens then beat Alan with a log weighing 2.7kg.

Paramedics found the large, bloodied branch next to Mr Willson on their arrival while forensic pathologist Dr Charlotte Randall said his injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma.

Her Honour Judge Christine Henson QC praised Mrs Willson for her quiet dignity in court.

She said: “To Mrs Willson, you sat through this trial with quiet dignity in a court really set up for you sitting so close to the dock.

“It must’ve been hard for you to hear evidence and you have dealt with it with quiet dignity.”

Fighting back tears, she said in evidence: “He has no mental capacity, although it fluctuates.

“He’s the most frustrated person I’ve ever seen because on the days where he’s having mental capacity he knows what he wants to say, but he cannot say it.”

Following the attack the community began fundraising for the family with nearly £37,000 already pledged.