Goodwood ‘at pains’ to ensure violence stops

Friday Night at Goodwood.
Friday Night at Goodwood.

THE VICTIM of an unprovoked assault at Goodwood racecourse said more needs to be done to stop people getting hurt.

Stuart Mitchell, 50, from East Meon, near Petersfield, visited the racecourse on May 31 last year with his wife.

As he left the Richmond bar at 10.30pm, during Hackney band Rudimental’s performance at the Friday night gig, he was punched from behind and knocked out.

His eye socket was fractured and a layer of tissue under his eyeball was perforated — requiring an operation.

He contacted the Observer after reading of two similar assaults recently, to say these were not isolated cases.

“I’m not here to relive the event and regurgitate it in the paper. It was to pick up on that fundamental point,” he said.

His wife Deborah, 47, added: “Clearly there’s some issue with violence and some people getting hurt.”

The attacker was not caught.

“He followed me out and we only had one witness who saw him. He was very agitated, worked up and aggressive.”

Mr Mitchell had earlier asked the man to wait his turn after he tried to push in front of him.

Since the assault, he has suffered permanent nerve damage and six weeks ago passed out in his home and is now waiting to see a neurologist. Mr Mitchell questioned the effect of the live gigs on the racecourse.

“The traditional Goodwood race member I can imagine must get disappointed from the Friday races.”

Racecourse manager Adam Waterworth said the first night of this year was ‘very out of the ordinary’.

“The last thing we want at any of our events is for any level of violence and in the case of Mr Mitchell and in the case of the two specific incidents we had on the first Friday night, that’s not what anyone wants with any event.

“Of course we take that very seriously.”

He added: “We’re always at pains to make sure those sorts of incidents don’t happen.”

He said Goodwood received good feedback from all age groups for the live events, including members.

“What we have to do now is to make sure we can continue in that vein of making sure we put on safe events that attract the audience we want to attract and that audience have a great night and a great time without the sort of incidents we found with the first one,” he said.

A 46-year-old Chichester man was arrested and bailed last Friday night on suspicion of a racially-aggravated assault, after reports of a fight outside the main enclosure.