A STUDENT has spoken out about being viciously attacked on Old Stirling Bridge last month, in a bid to make the area safer for local passers-by.
Chris, 22, not his real name as he has chosen to remain anonymous, was walking back from Fubar nightclub in the town centre, shortly before 3am on October 13.
“After walking past Tesco and going through the underpass, I walked along the path towards Old Stirling Bridge, heading back to my accommodation,” said Chris.
“I was on the bridge and just as I was approaching the bollards, I noticed a man staggering towards me, struggling to find his feet.
“When he got closer, he asked me for a cigarette but before I could answer he slipped on the cobbles.
“At this point I wasn’t even in touching distance of him and he accused me of pushing him over, which was ridiculous and crazy.”
By this point, Chris began to feel uncomfortable. He just wanted to get past him and get home.
A few seconds later, Chris’ attacker charged after him and punched him in the left eye, before shouting aggressively.
He was knocked to the ground near the wall of the bridge, before curling into a ball as his attacker continued to throw kicks and punches.
Chris said: “He continued to swing at me multiple times, hitting me mostly on the left side of my face in the same area.
“All I remember is telling him to stop, and then another man joined. He hit me as well, on the right side of my face.
“He knocked me flat on the ground after pretending to help me up before punching me again.
“At one point, when I was flat on the ground, the first man tried to pick me up, threatening to throw me off the bridge into the river.
“I thought I was a goner but he couldn’t seem to do it.”
“After a pause, I was threatened that if I was to report it, that they ‘knew people’ and they would attempt to cause me harm – so I said I wasn’t going to do anything or report it.
Following another short struggle, and after being knocked to the ground for the third time, Chris eventually managed to break away from his attackers. He believes that they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
He said: “I ran at full pelt the best that I could and didn’t bother looking back. I managed to get away and I remember passing some people.
“They noticed I was running away in a panic and noticed that I had an injury on my eye and they asked if I was alright, but I was too focussed on getting back to my flat for my own safety.”
After reporting the incident to the police, Chris was taken to hospital to ensure that there wasn’t any internal bleeding from the heavy bruising.
After a traumatic few weeks, he is still feeling the physical and mental effects of the attack.
As well as struggling to focus and feeling disorientated at times, Chris has felt too paranoid to go out and has been staying in his room most of the time since the ordeal.
He has stopped going out and refuses to walk over the bridge or through the underpass after dark.
However, Chris hopes that sharing his story will raise awareness of the risks, and lead to increased CCTV and police patrols in the area.
He said: “People need to realise just how dangerous the area is, especially so late at night.”
Inspector Anton Stephenson, from the Stirling Randolphield station, said: “Officers have been carrying out an investigation into an assault in the Old Stirling Bridge area, which happened around 2.50am on Sunday, October 13. Enquiries remain ongoing.
“Whilst incidents at this location are not common, even one is one too many. Local officers have been carrying out regular patrols and checks in the surrounding area over the past few weeks.
“Anyone with concerns around safety or antisocial behaviour is encouraged to contact Police Scotland on 101.”
Due to its location on the outskirts of town with limited CCTV and irregular police presence, The Old Stirling Bridge area has been the scene of suspicious activity in the past.
In September, emergency services were called to the scene following concerns that there was a body in the water.
And back in 2016, the area around the bridge was cordoned off as part of the investigation into the rape of a 26-year-old woman.
Brig understands that an increase in CCTV would be a matter for Stirling Council to comment on.
Local councillors representing Stirling North have been contacted for a response, to ask if there is scope for additional, high quality CCTV being installed, as well as a push for further increased police patrols.
VP Communities Josh Muirhead said: “I was saddened to hear of the attack on the Old Bridge last month.
“Unfortunately, it is becoming apparent that this can be a dangerous spot at night.
“Students and the wider local community should not feel intimated crossing the bridge, so I urge the council to invest in improving safety in the area.”
Featured image credit: Wikipedia