UPDATE: Boy arrested over bashing of vulnerable Tamworth man

UPDATE:

A teenager has been arrested after allegedly assaulting Mathew Lenton on Monday night.

Following investigations, a 16-year-old boy was arrested at a home on Kurrawan Street last night and taken to Tamworth Police Station.

He was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and intimidation and granted conditional bail to appear at Children’s Court on Tuesday, June 3

EARLIER: 

THERE has been a wave of support for a vulnerable Tamworth man targeted in a callous and cowardly attack on Monday night.

SHAKEN AND SCARED: Mathew Lenton, pictured here with his mother Ashley Lenton, and inset, is terrified after he was set upon in a random attack in Tamworth on Monday night. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 130514G0C05

SHAKEN AND SCARED: Mathew Lenton, pictured here with his mother Ashley Lenton, and inset, is terrified after he was set upon in a random attack in Tamworth on Monday night. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 130514G0C05

Mathew Lenton was left bloodied, bruised and hysterical after he was punched in the face, had a football hurled at his nose, pushed to the ground and kicked in the back when he was set upon in South Tamworth.

Police have slammed the attack and are hopeful they can make an arrest soon, after witnesses came forward.

The 23-year-old, who suffers autism, was minding his own business as he walked to his mother’s house about 7pm along Thompson Cr near Hymen Park when the attack occurred.

The offenders approached Mathew, who was listening to his iPod, and tried to talk to him before they turned on him.

“He was just covered in blood, he was screaming, he was hysterical, he couldn’t talk,” his mother Ashley Lenton said yesterday.

“It’s your worst nightmare, these thugs are getting gamer and gamer.”

Mathew was so worked up by the time he escaped his offenders and got help that he suffered an asthma attack.

Police and ambulance paramedics were called and while the injuries aren’t serious, it’s the lasting effects that hurt the most.

“It’s not so much the physical damage but the emotional damage it has caused,” Ms Lenton said.

“He was up and down all night, he was too frightened to walk home to his father’s house.”

When The Leader caught up with Mathew yesterday he was preparing to give police a statement but it was plain to see he was still quite shaken.

“He’s like a big kid, he’s so gentle he wouldn’t hurt anyone,” Ms Lenton said.

“It’s effected him shockingly ... he’s putting on a brave face.”

The random attack has provoked an outpouring of support on social media for the 

23-year-old, with more than 3500 people voicing their disgrace at a picture of the blood-stained and bruised young man when he finally managed to get home.

Tamworth Inspector Kylie Endemi confirmed police had spoken to a number of witnesses yesterday.

“This kind of attack is appalling in any incidence, but the fact that it has occurred on a 

vulnerable person who was just minding his business is particularly disgusting and we are investigating it with full force, and as I said, we certainly hope to make an arrest in the near future,” she said.

“At this stage the description I have is two males, aged between 16 and 17 years old. As I said we have spoken to some witnesses and there may well be others, so we would urge anyone that witnessed this appalling incident to contact police and let us know the information that they have.”

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