'Find who did this to my son'By Mike Pyle
July 23, 2012
A mother has called for police to do more to catch the thug who did this to her son’s face.
Caversham man Sean Stoakes was skateboarding when he was punched and kicked by a man as a group of the thug’s friends looked on and laughed at around 1.30am on Saturday, July 7.
His phone and wallet, containing his birthday money, were stolen.
Mr Stoakes is a diabetic and his attacker also took his insulin and kicked him so badly in his stomach, the area he uses to inject, that he has found it difficult to take his insulin.
It is the second time the vulnerable 22-year-old has been beaten up in two years and now his mum Chloe is concerned about the long-term impact this second incident could have on his health.
He was only out in the early hours because he feels safer when fewer people are about, Mrs Stoakes said.
Although the attack near the Broad Street Mall appeared to be random and Mr Stoakes did not know his assailant, Mr Stoakes did recognise one of the people he was with and used Facebook to identify the man who beat him up.
He and his mum gave the name of their suspect to police but, despite repeated visits to his house, officers have still not made an arrest.
Mrs Stoakes, who is deaf and unable to use the phone so has been communicating with police through text messages, said: “Despite identifying his attacker to police no arrests have been made, no support offered and no-one has visited us at home – I am disgusted how little the police assist families such as mine.
“They did nothing two years ago. They never tried to pursue his attacker. This time I’ve had enough of it.”
Last week police sent this text message to Mrs Stoakes: “Attempts are being made [to speak to the man Mrs Stoakes identified] about three times per day with response officers.
“I haven’t been updated with anything from this so I assume that nothing has been successful. I will contact you when we have managed to arrest him.”
Two years ago, not long after he moved to Reading, Mr Stoakes was attacked near the Thames in King’s Meadow and his mum says it had a profound effect on his life.
She said: “He was at college, doing fantastically with his life, and then he was severely attacked.
“He was beaten up so badly he had to spend three weekends in hospital, they had to shave his head – it was really hard for him.
“When he came out he became severely depressed. He wouldn’t leave the house, he wouldn’t contact anyone. It was really hard for us to get support for him because of his age. He lost motivation, he’s felt suicidal at times because it’s been so difficult getting support.
“He restarted college but, unfortunately, because of what happened he had panic attacks and he couldn’t carry on.”
Mr Stoakes managed to get a place on a course with the DKH Legacy Trust, a charity set up by Dame Kelly Holmes to help vulnerable young people, and made progress during his time on the course but slipped back into depression when it finished.
Mrs Stoakes, who gave up work to care for her son, added: “I’m really worried about what this attack will do to him.
“How long will it carry on for? His depression and mental health issues have made him a target. There are gangs who have called him names and spat at him. He only goes out at night because there are fewer people around and he thinks its safer. Now this has happened. It makes you fear the worst.”
Police have confirmed they are investigating the incident. Anyone with information can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.