Police probe Clitheroe gang attack terror

Mohammed Rafhan
Mohammed Rafhan

A Clitheroe couple suffered serious facial injuries and bruising in what is claimed to be an unprovoked and racially-motivated gang attack on Saturday night.

Taxi driver Mohammed Rafhan (42), and his wife, Raheela (30), have been left shaken and terrified after being “viciously beaten” in the horrific attack outside their home in Whalley Road around 9-30 pm.

Father-of-five Mohammed recalled: “I was outside my house getting ready to start work when I saw four young men hanging around. As I came nearer, one of the lads kicked a can of 7-Up, which hit my leg. I remonstrated with them and, as I was doing so, my wife came out of the house and asked them to move away.

“Suddenly, my wife was punched in the face by one of the youths and fell to the floor, so I ran over and then they started on me.”

Mr Rafhan explained how he was subjected to a tirade of vicious racist abuse as well as being repeatedly stamped on, punched and kicked to the ground.

“The attack lasted 20 to 25 minutes. Initially, there were four youths, but the gang was soon joined by five more individuals. I heard them for the first few minutes and they were swearing and making racist comments, but I can’t remember much after that.”

Mr Rafhan described how his brother-in-law, Mohammed Shezan (33), came out of the house and was also set upon.

“When Raheela was being kicked to the floor, stamped on and punched, Shezan put up his hands desperately pleading to the men to stop, but the next thing he knew a car was being driven towards him by one of the thugs,” he said.

“Soon our neighbours came out of their houses and witnessed the attack. The four main offenders attempted to run from the scene, but two were caught and arrested by police.”

Emergency services were called and Mr Rafhan, Raheela and Shezan were taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital where they were treated for seven hours before being discharged.

Mr Rafhan, who has lived and worked as a taxi driver in Clitheroe for 12 years, said: “As a family, we have been left traumatised by this unprovoked attack. I have never had so much as a bad word said to me before, so I am shocked this could happen here.

“We have really nice neighbours and friends and have never been shown anything, but complete respect in all the time we have lived in Clitheroe. This incident has left me and my family, especially my young children, who attend local schools, very scared. We are absolutely terrified and cannot come to terms to what happened to us.”

A police spokesman confirmed an incident involving two groups of people took place on Saturday evening. Two men from Clitheroe aged 39 and 18 were arrested on suspicion of affray and have since been bailed pending further inquiries.