This is written by Marjorie and Robert Golding, the mother & father of Blake, he was bottled whilst at work in December 2004 & both him & his family are fighting to make it law that inner city & town pubs/nightclubs are only allowed to stock polycarbonate glasses & plastic bottles.
"We are the parents of a statistic – a victim of crime – but crime is like a disease, spreading through an entire family affecting every member. Statistics we all know to be numbers on a computer screen, television etc. but behind every statistical number there is a face a family a story, this is Blake’s story our son.
It was Christmas Eve 2004, we were all looking forward to Christmas, presents wrapped, veg and turkey prepared, we could now relax and start enjoying the holiday period. Robert my husband and Adrienne my daughter and myself were meeting friends for a drink in the town. Blake couldn’t be with us, he had a second job as a doorman in Central Milton Keynes, he didn’t mind going to work in fact he had volunteered for Christmas shifts, as he needed the extra cash, as with most young people he could spend quicker than he could earn. By the time we walked home it was nearly 12.30 – Christmas Day!
We turned the key in the door to the sound of the phone ringing, my heart was thumping, phonecalls late at night are rarely good news. It was a neighbours son “Blake’s had an accident” that was enough for me, I panicked, thrust the phone at Robert, I didn’t want to hear the rest I was too scared. As it turned out it wasn’t an accident al all, Blake had been bottled, as we all drove to the hospital that was the only information we had.
We arrived a A&E before the ambulance, we paced the corridor for about 15 minutes, not knowing how Blake was, then Marcus appeared, the Head Doorman, his hand bound with a homemade bandage. Blake was in a bad way, he’d lost 4 pints of blood, they couldn’t stem the bleeding and he needed a transfusion, they were worried his body would go into shock, we were not allowed in to see him. We waited an agonising 50 minutes from arriving at the hospital, nurses were to-ing and fro-ing, blood stained uniforms. Finally a doctor came to see us, Blake was to go for surgery, there was no time to transfer him to Stoke Mandeville where there would have been a plastic surgeon.
We were allowed to go in and see Blake, one at a time. Robert went in first, as much as I wanted to rush in and see him, I was terrified and I couldn’t let him see that. Robert came out looking visibly shaken and very upset. Adrienne and I allowed to go in together, she was too frightened to face it on her own, I took her hand and said “deep breath”. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw when I went through those curtains.
My son lay on a trolley drenched in blood, there were trickles of blood still pouring from the sheets, footprints on the floor, and his face and neck were being held together by a male nurse. His first words to me were “are you OK Mum”, typical Blake. I kissed him, we spoke for about a minute if that, then he was taken to theatre where he was to spend the next 4 hours. We went back to the waiting room, where by this time there was about 10 doormen and several of Blake’s friends that had been in CMK and had heard what had happened, some of which had been with him as he sat propped up against a concrete pillar waiting 20 minutes for an ambulance – busy night!
It was now we learnt what had actually happened. In a busy Club on Christmas Eve a member of doorstaff, female, had noticed a young man at the bar that had been previously barred, she approached him and asked him to leave the premises, he did so. On leaving he then decided to try and argue his way back in, the doorlady stood firm and would not allow him re-entry. Unbeknown to any of the staff, the young man’s brother was inside the venue, and on seeing his brother arguing at the door, did no more than run over to the doorlady armed with a bottle and hit her over the head, thankfully the bottle did not break. Meanwhile Blake saw the commotion and ran over and restrained the attacker, pinning his arms to his side, it was at this point they both stumbled and fell over the step, the attacker then hit Blake across the eyebrow, breaking the bottle in the process, and drew the jagged glass up into his hairline. Immediately Blake’s eyes filled with blood and he was unable to defend himself, whereupon he was slashed across his cheek.
Blake’s reaction was to curl up on his front and put his arms over his face, at this point he was stabbed in the neck, this is when Marcus, the head doorman was brave enough to intervene, he managed to pull the attacker off Blake and he himself sustained a cut to his hand requiring 6 stitches. In May 2005 the perpertrator of this horrendous crime pleaded guilty to GBH with intent – only because the police had an absolute water tight case against him – and it was in his best interests to do so. He received a two year reduced sentence, and in summing up the judge said he didn’t want to ruin a young man’s life, he served 7 months, was it taken into consideration that this would affect the rest of Blakes life? As I can tell you, he’s not the same young man as he was before. Whilst in prison the offender was given – free of charge – an anger management course and counselling – a reward for co-operative behaviour which would help reduce his sentence. Blake’s first session of counselling, in this entire ordeal, took place on the 8th Dec, 2006, the cost will be taken out of any compensation he receives – a penalty for being the victim? – disheartening to say the least."
There are 5, 500 REPORTED glass/bottle attacks a year - 100 a week. This can be multiplied by 3 for unreported attacks 16,500 a year - 300 a week.2005 saw Government Compensation paying out £4.5 million for such cases. A survey of bar workers indicated that 40% of them had sustained accidental glass related injuries (mostly while stacking and washing glasses, one third of those needed treatment from A&E). In mid June 2005 we began a Nationwide Campaign to replace glass bottles with plastic and glasses with polycarbonate in NIGHT CLUBS and LATE NIGHT BARS in CITY/TOWN CENTRES with a young clientele, which statistically are shown to be most at risk. We travel to many areas to give presentations and we have spoken to quite a few venues who have already gone particially or totally plastic bottles/polycarbonate glasses with very impressive results. Not only are glass attacks to staff and customers non existent, but accidental injuries involving glass are too, dancefloors are no longer ruined, there are no constant glass breakages as the polycarbonate glasses far out last glass, making them cost effective, venues are quicker to clean up at the end of the night as there isn’t any broken glass to deal with. This provides a safer working environment. Equally security staff are able to deal with disturbances easier as they don’t have the added threat of bottles/glass, lets face it how difficult is it to keep a packed venue broken glass free during the course of the evening. Venues we have spoken to that have volunteered to be glass free have no desire to revert back to glass, their customers are more than happy with the alternative.
Our petition to date (31 May 07) has received over 22,000 signatures of support - the vast majority is from young people who frequent Night Clubs and Late Night Bars. If the bottle that had struck our son was plastic he probably would have received a bruise and a nasty headache, instead he is scarred physically down one side of his face and neck and the mental scars have gone deep too. Over a quarter of victims of facial wounds experience a serious post-traumatic stress reaction, which requires long term follow up. Bournemouth Town Centre have run a year long campaign introducing over 35 venues to polycarbonate, some are using the plastic bottles too. Last year saw a reduction of 70% on a Friday/Saturday night at A&E. That speaks for itself.
Please, if you agree, click on THIS link & sign your name in the petiton at the foot of the page, if you can please get your friends, family & colleagues to sign also. You can also lobby your local MP to raise the early day motion through this link.
I have signed it & am spreading the word about it. I've never been bottled or attacked with glass but I know someone who has, they aren't a violent person nor are they a hooligan that is likely to get into fights for the sheer hell of it, he tried to break one up & was stabbed in the face with the remnants of a pint glass, luckily nowhere near as serious as Blake's injuries but bad enough. The only cost is people having to drink out of polycarbonate 'glasses' & bottles, not such a high price to pay when you consider the damage glass does & the amount of trouble it causes through the after effects of attacks to the emergency services is it really?