THE wife of a man beaten nearly to death in a merciless attack by a gang of teens says all she wants is to hear him say “I love you”.
Alan Willson, 47, suffered significant and life-changing brain injuries after he was battered with a wooden log in Worthing, West Sussex.
He had dashed to the aid of an 11-year-old boy targeted by the gang.
Mr Willson is still unable to walk or talk and has “no mental capacity” after the Easter Sunday attack last year.
Today, The Sun can reveal the identities of two of the thugs responsible after successfully challenging an anonymity order as the sick pair were sent to jail for 12 years each.
Archie and George Tilley were seen laughing with their middle fingers raised on a previous appearance at court. One of the lads even smirked as he was found guilty.
In an exclusive interview with The Sun, Mr Willson’s wife Annie told of her devastation as she discovered him lying injured
“I was shouting, ‘babe, babe, where are you?’
“A boy came up and said, ‘are you looking for the man?’ and I said yes.
“He said he’s down there. I said ‘do you know who had anything to do with this?’ but he didn’t.
Then I saw Alan’s feet on the floor and he was just there in a pool of jam-like blood, blood pouring from his ears and there was a stick underneath him.
“He was making this awful noise, I’ll never forget it in all my life. It was a gurgle, like he was drowning in his own blood.
I knelt down to undo his jacket as it was done up to his Adam’s apple and I was just screaming ‘babe, babe’.
“A dog walker was on the phone to 999 and told me not to move him.
“My son Robbie and his friend heard my screams and came over. We just froze.”
Mr Willson was airlifted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton around 7.30pm on April 4 – and his wife rushed to be there.
Sitting beside her husband and reassuring him as he wept, she said she was given moments to say goodbye.
They said, ‘You have three minutes to speak to him. We need to take him to surgery or else he’s going to die’,” she said.
A WIFE’S DEVASTATION
“I went in and said, ‘Can I touch him?’ I gave him a kiss and said, ‘Do what you need to do’.”
Doctors warned Mr Willson’s injuries were “non survivable”.
“After I saw him in the intensive care unit, the doctors took me into a side-room and said: ‘We’re sorry to tell you, Alan’s injuries are non-survivable. You need to plan a funeral.’
“To plan a funeral for someone who is still alive is awful. I had to call his friend and ask him if he would carry the coffin.”
He had four brain injuries, his posterior and anterior ribs were broken, three spinal fractures, a shattered face, orbital bone, shattered jaw and numerous amounts of other things I can’t even remember,” Mrs Willson said.
Mr Willson pulled through his surgeries. However, his life had changed forever.
His wife said today: “As Alan and I are both carers, we used to have morbid conversations and he once said to me: ‘If I have to depend on anyone, I don’t want to live. That’s no life’.
“He’s now the most frustrated person in the world because you can see he wants to say something, but can’t.
You have to guess what he wants – sometimes you’re right, sometimes wrong. It’s heartbreaking.”
Avid Arsenal fan Alan enjoyed skiing holidays with pals before suffering his injuries.
Fighting back tears as she clutched Alan’s hand, Annie said: “I miss his voice. I just want to hear him say, ‘All right, babe. I love you. How are the kids?’
“When I was down, he used to sing Grace Kelly by Mika to cheer me up.
“He was very bubbly and just a fun guy. I’ve never met anyone like him. I’ve been married before, but Alan is the one.”
As she spoke, Mr Willson began to cry.
The brave couple gave the interview on the day “ringleaders” Archie Tilley, 16, and George Tilley, 14, were sentenced after being convicted of GBH with intent.
The pair were joined in the dock by Harry Furlong, 18 and of Horsham, West Sussex, who was found guilty of GBH without intent.
He was sentenced to 20 months – with the final 10 spent on licence.
Lewes Crown Court previously heard how Alan was pushed over by the one of the teens – then aged 13, 14 and 17 – in a row over a frisbee.
He was then “whacked” with a 3ft log – causing a “loud crack” as his ribs broke
I miss him making us all laugh. I just want him to say, ‘I love you. Good night kids’
The trio were caught on CCTV at a railway station re-enacting the bloody battering less than an hour later while attempting to impress girls.
One teen who spoke to the attackers described them as “fake beating the air” and giggling “please stop”.
Mr Willson was so badly hurt that paramedics were unable to recognise him as being an adult.
A dog walker told police the attack at first “sounded like someone getting beaten up or hurt” then “like someone being murdered”.
Mrs Willson told the attackers in court: “Because of your actions, my husband cannot speak, cannot play with his children, cannot work and cannot control his body.
“He has no mental capacity, no vision in his left eye and has a massive brain injury from which he will never fully recover.
“He has hearing problems, dental problems, cannot toilet himself or take care of his personal hygiene.
“He is not the same man. He is locked in this strange body that he doesn’t understand.”
Speaking today, Mrs Willson added: “The mentality of these boys, particularly the younger ones, shocks me.
“Harry, as far as we know, partly told the truth. The other two can rot. They intended to kill.
“Something is desperately wrong with them. Something is wrong with society.