16th Sep, 2019

Gang shoves college lecturer into canal

Laura Kearns 28th Jan, 2017

A COLLEGE lecturer who was punched and thrown into a freezing canal reasoned with his attackers by speaking Arabic.

Stratford College media lecturer Lee Skinner was jogging in Birmingham along the Acocks Green Canal at around 3pm on Sunday January 15 when he was set upon by five hooded youths.

The 38 year-old, who lives near Solihull, was punched in the face and knocked into the icy cold canal for ‘being white’. One of the thugs then crouched by the side of the canal and prevented the former languages teacher from climbing out of the icy water while he battled to stay afloat.

But quick-thinking Lee tried to reason with the Asian attackers by speaking in Arabic, saying ‘May God forgive you’.

He says it was only when he began making a declaration of faith and saying ‘There Is No God But Allah’ that the gang panicked and ran away.

Lee was left hospitalised with damaged teeth, bruising and injuries to his cheekbones and neck muscles.

Stratford College have spoken out about the teacher, who is currently recovering from his injuries.

A spokesman said: “Mr Skinner is a very highly valued and popular member of the college team, and we’re saddened to hear he has been victim to an upsetting incident. His professionalism and approach to working with his students is exemplary, and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

Police are hunting for the suspects, who are believed to be around 17 years-old.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “Police were called to the Grand Union Canal in Acocks Green where a jogger was punched by a youth as he ran past him on the towpath.

“The man fell in the canal and was prevented from getting out by his assailant. He swam to the other side where he was able to get out and seek help from a passerby.

“Officers arrived within minutes and the man was later treated for bruising to his face. Officers searched the area and have trawled CCTV but the offender has not been traced.

“Anyone with information should call police on 101.”

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