A soldier told how his Christmas was ruined after he was violently attacked on his first night out after his return from Afghanistan – and following the tragic loss of two family members.
Army reservist Private Aaron Dodds, 31, of Cavendish Road, Morecambe, had his jaw broken in the assault outside The Kings Arms Hotel leaving him unable to eat Christmas dinner.
Dad-of-two Aaron, who recently completed a six-month tour in Afghanistan with the Royal Logistics Corp, had to undergo surgery and now has two titanium plates inserted into his jaw.
Following the attack, which police described as “despicable”, he was unable to fully enjoy Christmas dinner with his mum and sons Ben, nine, and Alex, six.
He said: “I don’t go out very often and I had suffered two bereavements in the family so my friend wanted me to go out to cheer me up.
“I was standing outside The Kings Arms waiting to get a taxi and my friend went to get his jacket.
“Someone came up behind me and hit me and I hit the ground.
“All I can remember is waking up with blood in my mouth. My jaw didn’t feel like it was broken.
“The next day I woke up in a lot of pain and went to hospital where they found it was broken.
“I have a lot of stitches in my mouth and it’s still swollen.
“All I can eat is mashed potato, sandwich fillings and soup. I’ve tried to eat more solid food but there’s no chance.
It will be the end of January before I can eat properly. My family joked that they would put my Christmas dinner in the blender.
“Hopefully they will find someone for it. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody. I would like to say to the person who did it – why have you done it and what did you get out of it? There was no need for it. I’m supposed to be enjoying Christmas but I’m in pain all the time.”`
Aaron had recently come back from his second six-month tour in Afghanistan where he was helping pack up Camp Bastion following the Uk forces withdrawal.
He said: “You would think I would be safe at home compared to where I have been where I could have been hurt.”
Police have released CCTV images of a man they would like to speak with after the incident between 2am and 3am on Thursday, December 11.
DC Jill Neil from Lancaster CID said: “This was a despicable act.”
Anyone with information can contact Lancashire Police on 101 quoting incident reference LC-20141217-072 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.