A DISABLED man was kicked as he lay defenceless on the ground – moments after hearing his beloved guide dog being attacked.
Visually impaired Richard Twose was pushed up against a fence by two men before being assaulted close to his home in Fareham.
The 35-year-old, who underwent a kidney and pancreas transplant six years ago, tried desperately to shield his upper body after being pushed to the ground.
But his attackers, who struck at Youngbridge Court near Redlands Lane, kicked him in the stomach, causing bruising to his pancreas.
Seconds earlier, his dog Bates had yelped out in pain and lurched forward after being kicked.
Richard, who represented Great Britain in the Transplant Games as a sprinter, has branded the men “cowards”
urging anyone with information to contact police.
He told the Daily Echo: “These people are not human - they have really got a screw loose.
“I can look after myself up to a certain point, but not when there is more than one and when it is dark and with my eyesight in this condition.
“It all happened in a matter of seconds and I was not quite sure what was going on. I kept thinking to myself, ‘when are they going to stop?’ “I’m usually confident and involved with everything, but this has knocked me completely – I am not myself at the moment.
“I did receive bruising to my pancreas – that can be repaired. But the fact that they kicked my dog makes me feel almost guilty because I could not defend him.
“That has upset me more than the fact that I was hurt.”
Bates, an eight-year-old Labrador Retriever, has lost his confidence since being attacked and cowers behind his owners legs when others approach.
Richard, who plans to compete as a cyclist in the Rio 2016 Paralympics, has received backing from Eastleigh-based charity Open Sight, with whom he is heavily involved.
Chief executive Tessa Barrett said: “On behalf of all our beneficiaries with sight loss I think it is true to say that I am absolutely appalled at the mindless act of violence meted out to our sports ambassador Richard Twose and his guide dog, Bates, by people unknown.
“The impact of the injury to his dog is being personally felt by Richard as Bates is his eyes, and without him Richard is no longer independent.”
Police have launched an investigation.
Witnesses to the incident, on Wednesday at 6.20pm, should contact PC John Cupper on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.