Family urge community to break wall of silence on anniversary of vicious attack
The family of a man in an unresponsive state after a vicious assault are urging witnesses to break a wall of silence one year on from the attack.
Gary Hayward, 29, was viciously beaten trying to protect his dad from a gang of youths armed with metal poles and baseball bats, in Central Parade, New Addington, on October 2, last year.
His father John suffered head injuries in the attack, but was discharged from hospital a few days later.
One year on and Gary is in an unresponsive state in a private rehabilitation centre, which specialises in brain injuries.
After the attack he was taken to King's College Hospital where he underwent an operation to remove a blood clot from his brain.
Following some time in a coma, the father-of-three who had lost sight in one eye in the attack, appeared to be recovering when he tripped going to the toilet last November.
His condition deteriorated and he underwent a second operation to remove fluid from his brain. He has been in an unresponsive state since.
His sister Zowey, 22, said: "We have coped but we have been on auto-pilot. We can't do anything, we can't plan anything.
"We are in limbo, we can't grieve and we can't be happy.
"It is amazing how missing one person out of a family can destroy it. You don't realise what a role someone has in a family and when it has gone it is just not the same."
Three teenagers and a 20-year-old man were arrested in connection with the vicious assault on Gary and his father John, but have since been released without charge.
The family have started an online petition calling for Justice for Gary.
Zowey added: "I can understand why people wouldn't say anything but please, just do the right thing.
"He can't stand up for himself, he has lost a year of his life and they are out there living their lives and having kids, it is not right.
"We are not going to stop until justice is done, we are going to keep fighting for him."
Police are reissuing their appeal for witnesses and information and officers are handing out witness appeal leaflets in New Addington today.
Detective Inspector Paul Kerr, said: "It has been a year since this violent attack on a man and his son in New Addington, but we remain determined to find those responsible.
"Whether you witnessed the incident or if you have heard information about it, then please get in touch so we can bring the people that committed this violent assault to justice.
"I can assure the public we will treat anyone with information with the utmost confidentiality and sensitivity."
Anyone with information should contact Croydon CID on 0203 276 2172 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.