Thug's sentence is 'a joke', says former paratrooper after he is blinded in one eye

Attacker Adam Whitehead

Attacker Adam Whitehead

First published in The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A FORMER paratrooper does not feel safe in his own home after a thug blinded him in one eye in a vicious attack at a bus stop.

Adam Whitehead punched his victim, Christopher Riley, so hard that the 54-year-old lost his eye.

Earlier this month, the 23-year-old, of Dixon Green Drive, Farnworth, was jailed for three-and-a-half years for the assault.

Mr Riley described the sentence as “a joke” and said he feels forced out of his home in Whitefield.

Mr Riley said: “The man is an animal and the sentence was too short.

“He will be out in 21 months and I simply don’t have faith in the system that he will be rehabilitated.

“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. I am a former paratrooper and have been injured in the Falklands and in Northern Ireland, but this was 10 times worse.”

Mr Riley was waiting for the bus outside the new Morrison’s petrol station in Bury New Road, Whitefield, on November 22 last year when Whitehead spotted him.

Whitehead ended a mobile phone call, telling the listener: “Just a minute, there’s some bloke here I have to sort out.”

Whitehead punched his victim twice and he fell to the ground.

He suffered a deep cut to his left eyeball and lost his sight in that eye.

Mr Riley believes he was targeted because he knew another man Whitehead had argued with.

He said: “I just couldn’t believe what had happened.

“It was terrifying to know that I was going to lose my sight.

“Since then, I have just felt like everyone is looking at me, like I am the Elephant Man.”

The ex-servicemen said he has been staying away from Whitefield since the attack and is too frightened to return home.

He does not want to reveal where he is living because he fears for his safety.

Mr Riley added: “I am still getting troubling phone calls from people about what happened and it makes me feel uneasy about going home. I have decided not to go back.

“He has forced me out.

“Also, I will not feel safe walking down the street when Whitehead comes out.

“I cannot go back to Whitefield.”

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