Wife of man left brain damaged 'horrified' attacker could be released within weeks

  • ITV Meridian's Andy Dickenson speaks exclusively to the Willson family.

The wife of a man from Worthing who was left permanently brain damaged and unable to communicate after a frenzied attack has told ITV News she was horrified to find out one of the attackers is due for release after just two months in prison.

Alan Willson, 47, was attacked in Longcroft Park, Worthing, on Easter Sunday in 2021, after confronting three boys over a bullying incident. The assault changed his life forever.

He was discovered badly injured by his wife Annie, who's been at his side ever since.

Mr Willson was left in a coma and spent three months in hospital. He's still unable to speak, cannot sign his name, play with his children and needs constant care.

In June the three boys who kicked, punched and beat him were sentenced to a combined 25 years in jail.

Harry Furlong, 18, was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm at Lewes Crown Court, and jailed for 20 months.

Archie and George Tilley, and Harry Furlong were all jailed for the attack on Alan Willson

The attack was so horrific, the judge took the rare decision to name the other two young attackers.

Archie Tilley, 16, and George Tilley, 14, were found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent. They both received nine years with three additional years on license.

But the Willson family has now discovered that Furlong could be released in less than four weeks time, because of time already spent on remand, after being jailed in June.

Speaking from their home, Annie said: "The last few years have been atrocious.

"I have done nothing but fight tooth and nail for this man and I feel like I am hanging on by my fingernails.

"Everyone thinks justice has been done. But really coming out after two months, that's not justice."

Annie Willson reacts to the news that one of her husband's attackers could be released from prison in a number of weeks

"Emotionally I am a wreck," Annie added. "I can't allow my feelings to be shown, because I have children and they rely on me. Our whole life has been turned upside down.

"Before, (the attack) he was a very intelligent man. He still is. Perfect, brilliant, and has come on so well in the year that he's been home. But there are lots of things in between that people don't know about.

"All our plans have been shattered."

Alan's family say they are struggling to receive benefits or medical compensation.

Following the attack the community began raising money for Alan Willson's family.

The initial target was £500 but it has now raised £36,915.