Thugs attack man in wheelchair - and get a very nasty surprise
Afghan War veteran fights back and sends thieves fleeing empty-handed
An Afghan veteran in the UK successfully tackled knife-wielding thugs who attempted to rob him while he was out training in his wheelchair.
On Sunday evening two men approached Roger Mercer, 38, on a canal towpath and demanded his cellphone.
However Mercer, who is two metres tall, managed to swipe the 20cm curved blade out of one the men’s hands before knocking him to the ground with a single blow, before ramming his thumb into the eye socket of the other as he attempted to grab the wheelchair from behind and get him in a headlock.
The men then pushed Mercer over before fleeing empty-handed from the scene in Blacon, Chester.
Mercer served with the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment for almost 11 years until he suffered a serious spinal injury while serving in Afghanistan in 2007.
He said: “I saw someone ahead of me and I stopped dead.
“This one lad had a hoodie which was pulled tight around his face and he was holding a curved blade, between 15cm and 18cm long.
“I was able to get the blade out of his hand straight away and it got thrown to the side. I also sent him flying.
“He was there going ‘what the hell?’ He probably wasn’t expecting a wheelchair user to fight back.”
Mercer said he had self-defence training in the army and had spent two years in Northern Ireland as well as Bosnia and Afghan, so was “used to the rough stuff”.
“I regularly take part in marathons in my wheelchair for charity and train three to four times a week,” he added.
“I had just done eight kilometres and had my head down when the men appeared in front of me.
“But this hasn’t put me off training and it’s not going to stop me.”
Detective Constable Tom Philpotts, of Cheshire Police, said: “This was an opportunistic robbery by thieves who thought they could prey on a defenceless disabled man in order to steal his phone.
“In this case the victim was extremely brave and lucky to be able to fight off his attackers, preventing them from causing him serious harm or taking his phone.”