Dad-of-two left a 'broken man' after gang nearly beats him to death for 'asking for directions'

Dad-of-two left a 'broken man' after gang nearly beats him to death for 'asking for directions'
Shaun Mollon (inset) was brutally beaten at a parking lot just off the High Street in Burton-on-Trent on September 23 (Strava, Google Street View)

STAFFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND: A businessman was nearly beaten to death by a gang of youths after he asked them for directions.

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Shaun Mollon, 49, has been left a "broken man" afraid of human touch after the harrowing ordeal on Friday morning, September 23. The father-of-two was brutally kicked and punched in the horrific attack at a parking lot just off the High Street in Burton-on-Trent, shattering his jaw, eye socket, and cheekbone in the process. Mollon, who is the director of his own packaging firm Plazology, underwent emergency surgery to reconstruct his face with metal plates and pins in his home city of York.

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"It's destroyed our lives," Mollon's embattled wife Julianne told Staffordshire Live. "He is frightened of any little noise and doesn't want anyone touching him. He is lucky to be alive."

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While the nightmare unfolded more than two weeks ago, it has only been made public now owing to the severity of his injuries. Mollon had reportedly been in Burton for work and had gone out for dinner and drinks with his colleagues. After calling it a night, Mollon headed back to his hotel as he had work the following day. However, he got lost on the way after taking a wrong turn, and decided to ask for directions after spotting a group of youths at the parking lot just off the High Street. He was subsequently jumped from behind and beaten within an inch of his life. The savage group -- made up of youths believed to be in their 20s and a couple of young girls -- left the father and husband on the ground and fled the scene in a car. Mollon did not have anything stolen in the incident and managed to get back to his colleagues after gaining consciousness. He was immediately rushed to a hospital.

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"He is absolutely broken and has not come out of his room for a week," Julianne revealed. "He is not the person he was. He's scared all the time and he keeps having flashbacks as stuff keeps coming back to him and he keeps reliving that initial impact. It's horrific." She continued, "It's been really difficult for all of us. My daughter has been so upset as he doesn't look like daddy or behave like him. He's a broken man. He is lucky to be alive. It's such a cruel and callous thing to do and just run away. He could have been dead. He was on his own and had a few pints, he was vulnerable." She added, "I just hope that someone who witnessed it has a conscience and thinks this isn't right."

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Mollon underwent reconstructive surgery on Thursday, September 29, after being initially taken to Queen's Hospital in Burton. Doctors had sent him home to York as the surgery couldn't be performed until the swelling had subsided. His heartbroken wife said he's unable to eat or drink due to the pain, and that the traumatic episode has taken a major toll on his mental health. Julianne remembered she got a call from her husband at 3 am that night, but could hardly understand his words due to his broken jaw. "I just got up and I was sick and as soon as I was able to I got a friend to take me to Derby as I wasn't fit to drive," she said.

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That said, a spokesperson for the Staffordshire Police confirmed that the department was looking for those responsible for the beating. "Officers are appealing for information following an assault in Burton-upon-Trent," they said in a statement. "The incident took place on September 23 September at around 2.30 am at Meadowside Leisure Centre car park on High Street. A 49-year-old man suffered serious facial injuries including a fractured jaw."

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