Ex-soldier ‘violated’ after Dagenham traffic lights attack

Four motorbikes were recovered in Dagenham Picture: PA Images

Four motorbikes were recovered in Dagenham Picture: PA Images

An ex-soldier has spoken about the terrifying moment a gang slashed him with a knife at they tried to steal his motorbike in Dagenham.

Simon Andrews, 46, was on his way to work when the group of six masked men targeted him at a set of traffic lights at the junction of Heathway and New Road last week.

The father-of-two, who now works as a carer trainer, was left traumatised by the attack at around 8.30am on May 3.

He said: “They ran from the shop area and jumped over the railings screaming: ‘Get off your bike’.

“About three of them came over, they were screaming and punching me.”

In a daze, Simon jumped back up and put down the visor of his crash helmet to prevent a further attack.

It was then that one of the gang whipped out a knife and slashed the left arm of his jacket before running off.

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“It seemed like they were in a panic because I wasn’t letting go of the bike, they were trying to drag it away,” he said.

A driver who was behind Simon in the queue signalled to him to turn off further up in New Road before calling emergency services.

Though physically uninjured, Simon has suffered stress and insomnia following the attack and has been signed off work for two weeks.

“I’ve been to war but I’ve never had flashbacks like this before, in the military you are trained to forget, but this was so unexpected.”

Simon, who travels regularly to Dagenham from his home in southeast London, said he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

“I feel violated, I work hard and don’t expect something like that to happen at all,” he said. “These men are a danger to themselves and society. I want them to be caught so no one else suffers.”

Police are investigating the incident as attempted robbery.

Anyone with any information should call the police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.