A security worker from Huddersfield who suffered a vicious beating in France will face court next month (January) after one of the attackers claimed he injured his wrist in the assault.
Andrew Johnson, 50, who grew up in Moldgreen, has reluctantly agreed to return to France for the court hearing, but only after demanding protection from French authorities during his trip as he fears he may be targeted again by the attackers.
If convicted he could face up to a year’s suspended prison sentence.
Mr Johnson has lived and worked abroad for many years. He advises the police and other organisations on road security, which includes vetting taxi drivers.
He was living in Marseilles when he was attacked at his home in 2010.
At least three men tried to force their way in and he fought back, shutting the door on them.
One of the attackers says he suffered a wrist injury when the door was closed and had to have eight days off work.
Legal action was started, but two years ago the case against the attackers was dropped and Mr Johnson was also told he would face no action.
He moved with his wife to Monaco and thought the incident had been dropped.
The couple are planning to return to live in the Huddersfield area and when Mr Johnson was coming back to the UK after doing some work in Algeria in October he was detained at Marseilles Airport, told the case against him was still active and that a warrant had been issued as he had failed to turn up for a court case, which he knew nothing about.
He was advised to either go before the courts next month, or never return to France, where his mother lives. As a result he says he has no choice but to go to court.
He said: “I have accepted to attend court in Marseille on one condition from the French authorities that they assure my protection at my hotel in Marseille, my trip to court and back, and return to the airport to catch my flight.
“It may seem extreme but due to the attack I sustained head injuries, bruised ribs, and injuries to my left arm.
“I went to a victims support group for two months and a psychiatrist for three months, and then ended up leaving Marseille.”
Mr Johnson was attacked moments after he had returned home from a sailing club.
He had a Taser in his apartment – which is legal in France – and when he turned it on the men backed off and he closed the door on them.
He says he has spoken to Foreign Office officials and was told the case brought by the attacker is similar to a ‘bank robber trying to prosecute after slipping and hurting himself as he left the bank’.