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Savernake victim upset by lack of charges
Savernake campsite warden Graham Pace is upset after a man who attacked him was released without charge.
Mr Pace, 46, said he was attacked by an off-duty soldier at the Camping and Caravan-ning Club’s Postern Hill site on Saturday after the man had been drinking with a group of women outside his tent.
The warden said he went over to the man, whose tent was parked in clear view of other campers, to ask him how many people were staying the night because he had only paid for two.
He said the man was surly and aggressive. As he walked away he felt blows raining down on his head.
Mr Pace, who has been the warden at Postern Hill for eight years, said he had never been assaulted by a camper before but his deputy Pete Prout, who witnessed the attack, was a victim of a carbon-copy assault a year ago by another off-duty soldier.
Campsite staff dialled 999 as soon as Mr Pace was attacked at about 6pm and when Mr Prout, 65, and his wife Lorraine, 53, went to their colleague’s aid they too were hurt as they tried to pull the attacker off. Mr Prout received bruising to his neck and his wife was left with a bad back.
By the time three police officers arrived the assailant had run off into the woods.
Two hours later when the man emerged he was arrested and taken away.
At 11pm Mr Pace had a call from police to say his attacker was a soldier who had served in Afghanistan. They believed he was suffering from traumatic stress and released him with a caution.
Mr Pace said on Monday: “I was just doing my job and asked the guy how many were staying in his tent for the night and as I walked away he came from behind and punched me in the head. I was knocked unconscious by about the third punch and from what I have been told I was punched at least 20 times.
“I have had concussion for about 24 hours and couldn’t work at all yesterday”.
Mr Pace added: “He is a soldier and I appreciate he served in Afghanistan but that gives him no right to attack a member of the public.”
Mrs Prout said: “The man was built like the incredible hulk and we were hurt as we tried to pull him off Graham.”
Mr Pace said the police should have at least referred the incident to the Crown Prosecution Service for possible court action. He is considering making a formal complaint about the way police handled the incident.
Inspector Colin Conway, of Wiltshire Police, said: “Our response officers responded speedily to the call and arrested a man. We deal with every incident in line with nationally laid down criteria.
“An evidence review officer decided, on the evidence available and in line with the national criteria, that the right outcome was to give the man a formal caution. This does not mean being ‘let off’.
“I am happy with the quality of the investigation and with the decision taken. I am sorry to learn that Mr Pace is unhappy. Should he decide to make a formal complaint he can be assured that all complaints submitted to Wiltshire Police are investigated thoroughly by our Professional Standards Department.”
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