Cancer sufferer hits out after attacker walks free

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The Independent Online

A terminally ill cancer sufferer beaten up by a teenage thug expressed his dismay and disbelief today after his attacker walked free from court.

Reece Kent, 19, punched grandfather Ken Oliver, 62, in the face and then kicked him repeatedly as he lay on the floor, before walking away laughing.

The brutal attack, believed to be a case of mistaken identity, left Mr Oliver bruised from head to toe and needing hospital treatment, he said.

But Kent was spared jail at St Albans Crown Court in Hertfordshire after pleading guilty to wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm, a court official said.

Instead, he was handed a six-month sentence at a young offenders institution, suspended for 12 months, ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and told to pay £1,000 in compensation.

Mr Oliver, who has been told he will die from his kidney cancer, said: "I'm more than gutted. I just don't believe that can happen in this country, that they can walk out.

"I think he should have been locked up straight away. I would have liked to see him get a nice long prison sentence."

He described how Kent had started banging on the door of his house in Park Lane, Broxbourne, Herts, at about 3.30am one day last October.

"I got out of bed to see what was going on and someone was outside shouting 'get Molly out here'," he said.

"I shouted through the door: 'There's no Molly here.' But they wouldn't listen.

"So I opened the door and was jumped on."

A neighbour told him afterwards that a girl called Molly used to live two doors down the street.

Mr Oliver was left bleeding on his doorstep with injuries including a cracked left cheekbone, bruising around his left eye and face, and a dislocated toe.

He was treated in hospital in Harlow, Essex, following the attack but his head started swelling later and he spent a week in intensive care in Queen's Hospital in Romford, Essex, he said.

He described watching numbly in court with his wife Pauline, 64, and son Tony as the sentence was passed on October 18.

"I had no reaction, I was just dead," he said.

The attack came just five weeks after Mr Oliver had an operation to remove the top of his right lung as the cancer had spread there.

He had previously had his kidney removed and had undergone an operation on his left lung.

His illness forced him to quit his job as a heating and ventilating engineer.

He has written to the Crown Prosecution Service to request a retrial and is waiting to hear from them, he said.

He added: "The country's gone crazy."