Josh Price, a 21-year-old dad of two and admired rugby player in the small English town of Ossett in West Yorkshire, did what any good uncle would do. On Saturday, after the day’s rugby match was over, he took his young niece and nephew to a nearby park.
But when he saw a pair of teen girls bullying the two kids, ages 10 and eight, he went over and asked them to stop.
“Play nicely,” Josh told the girls, who then left the park.
Josh, a player with the Ossett Trinity amateur rugby club which had just defeated local rivals Eastmoor earlier that afternoon, went back to relaxing.
But about 15 minutes later, a van pulled up to the park and two men got out. They approached the young father and after a moment’s conversation, they attacked him savagely. They knocked Josh to the ground and punched him and kicked him when he was down.
Somehow, Josh got to his feet and tried to flee, but the men chased him, even attacking anyone who got between them and the fleeing father. They caught up to Josh and ruthlessly beat him some more, finally walking away and leaving him on the ground, to die.
Josh Price did not die, but the beating caused a stroke and he was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary where surgeons were able to save his life. But it now appears that, at age 21, he will never be the same.
He is paralyzed on his right side and suffers from impaired speech and memory loss. He has trouble recognizing his own two children. Doctors can’t say how bad his injuries will prove to be in the long run.
“As a parent you never want to see your child like that. We are all numb and in total shock. We’re barely functioning as a family,” said his father, 43-year-old Stuart Price, who rushed back to England from a Spanish holiday to be at his son’s side. “Josh’s children need their dad, they’re asking where their daddy is and we can’t answer them, it’s devastating.”
UPDATE: Two months after the attack on Josh Price, he was reported to be recovering slowly, but his days of playing rugby were over at age 21. One year after the trauma, Josh — judging by what could be seen on his Facebook page at this link — appeared to be back on his feet and returned to his family and young children.
According to his page, he works “at being the best daddy in the world.”
“Investigations into this incident remain ongoing,” said a local police detective, Paul Harrison. “One man, aged 22 and another aged 23 were arrested in connection with the matter and both have been bailed pending continuing inquiries.”
Police left open the possibility that the attack on Josh was a coincidence, and unrelated to his confrontation with the teen bullies. Their investigation continues.
[Image via Daily Mirror]