Farmer feared loss of sight after metal bar attack

A livestock farmer feared he would lose his sight after he was attacked with a metal object, thought to be an iron bar, outside his home.

Robert Withers suffered horrific injuries after he was battered by an intruder, who rained blows on him with a metal bar outside his farmhouse.

After seeing a shadowy figure outside his door, the 70-year-old confronted a man who told him he had stopped for a cigarette.

But when the farmer challenged him further, his attacker struck him six or seven times around his head, causing deep cuts and severe blood loss.

Mr Withers, a cattle and sheep farmer, spent four days in hospital where he underwent an operation to pin his broken left arm back together.

He also had stitches to two deep cuts above his right eye and a broken nose. Further smaller cuts and bruises covered his face, arms and left knee.

“I came around the corner and there was a man stood by the kitchen window,” recalled Mr Withers in an interview with the BBC.

“I questioned him as to what he was doing there and then there was an altercation.

Robert-Withers-2“I got struck. He hit me straight across the eye, nose and face. I put my arm up to defend myself and he struck my arm.”

The attacker ran off, but although Mr Withers was covered in blood, he managed to dial 999 and was taken to hospital.

“I was feeling scared that I may lose the sight in my eye,” he added. “That was my biggest concern after the attack. There was plenty of blood about.”

Mr Withers is back at work, but wearing a cast on his left arm. Doctors believe he will make a full recovery.

West Midlands Police have renewed their appeal for help to find the man responsible for the attack at Lapal Farm in Illey Lane, Halesowen, at about 5am on Monday, 8 September.

Police have also released CCTV footage of the prime suspect loitering in the street near the farm before he went on to attack Mr Withers (below).

Detective Sergeant Leighton Shingles, of West Midlands Police Force CID team, said: “The farmer’s injuries were so severe that at one point doctors feared he may lose an eye. Fortunately he is making a steady recovery.

“His attacker is described as a stocky, white man in his early forties. He was wearing a dark sleeveless bomber jacket over a check shirt and dark trousers. He also wore a hat and claimed to come from Bartley Green.”

Anyone with information on the attack is urged to contact Det Sgt Shingles on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Pictures courtesy of West Midlands Police

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