A gang of teenagers attacked a couple with learning difficulties in a ‘cruel, nasty incident’ in Horsham town centre yesterday (Tuesday November 25).
Sussex Police said the five youths mocked the victims - a 25-year-old woman and her boyfriend, 21, both from Horsham - threw sweets at them, and the man was assaulted at Horsham Bus Station in Worthing Road.
The couple were ordering food at Subway in the Carfax shortly after 6pm when the teenage customers inside the shop began mocking them.
After the pair left the shop to catch a 6.50pm bus home, the group arrived at the bus station and began throwing sweets at them.
One of the youths pushed the woman out of the way, grabbed the man by the throat, and started hitting him.
The teenagers, who were all white and wearing grey or black hooded jumpers, then left.
Police have released descriptions of four males they want to speak to in connection with the incident.
One of the teenagers was about 19 and 5’ 10” with short dark hair in a side parting and stubble. He was wearing a black Puffa-style jacket, dark jeans and dark shoes.
The second was 16 or 17 and 5’ 7” or 5’ 8”. He had short light brown or blonde hair and was clean shaven. He was wearing a green jacket, a red hooded top, skinny blue jeans and white trainers and was carrying a black rucksack.
The third was 16 or 17 and 5’ 7” or 5’ 8”. He had short dark hair and was wearing a black Parka-style hooded coat with brown fur trim and dark trousers.
The fourth was 16 or 17 and 5’ 7” or 5’ 8”. He was wearing a black and white patterned hooded top, a brown Parka-style jacket and light blue jeans. He was carrying a green rucksack.
Sergeant Peter Allan said: “The victims had only just built up the confidence to go out together without another adult but this incident has really affected them.
“It appears that they were targeted because of their disabilities and are very upset about what happened.
“We urgently need to identify the men involved so they can be questioned.
“There was a man at the bus station using his mobile phone at the time and he may have seen some of the incident so we are keen for him to come forward.
“Targeting the vulnerable is totally unacceptable and we are determined to find those responsible for this cruel, nasty incident.”
Police are appealing for help to trace the gang of attackers.
Anyone with information can email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting serial 1327 of 25/11, call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.