A disabled man was attacked with tree branches and kicked by two thugs in Heaton Park after he 'remonstrated' with their mum over claims his dogs had coronavirus.

Antonio Minnenchinni, 65, was left in 'a lot of pain' with bruises to his legs and shoulders following the assault on Tuesday morning.

He said the pair attacked him after he had a disagreement with their mother during his walk in the Prestwich park at 8am.

War veteran Mr Minnenchinni claimed the woman 'screamed' at him to pick up his sheep dogs that he had taken for a walk, he said.

"She said 'dogs have got coronavirus and that they need to be on a lead'.

"I tried to remonstrate with her. I said 'calm down, you are feeding your own anxiety'," he added.

The 65-year-old said she left 'quickly'.

But around 30 minutes later, two men, believed to be the sons of the woman, came towards him 'with tree branches in their hands' while he was in the forested area of the park.

The bruising to his leg

"They immediately started attacking me and my dogs. The branches were quite thick. I use a walking stick, I'm disabled. I can't run - I tried. They said 'don't upset my mother again'.

"The started to kick me in the thighs. My dogs disappeared. It lasted about 10 minutes. I took most of the blows on my shoulders and legs. I tried to explain to them that I'm registered disabled. They took my walking stick and threw it away.

"Fortunately there was a park ranger who witnessed the whole incident. The park ranger stayed with me until the police turned up. Someone found my dogs and put them on the dog leads." 

The branches used in the attack

Retired Mr Minnenchinni, who served in the parachute regiment in the army, said that when police arrived they told him there was little that they could do about it.

"At the moment they are busy with other more important things, my incident is classed as low key, I have to accept that", he said.

Antonio

"I wish I was 30 years younger. I'd have defended myself - I was scared. I live on my own. I didn't sleep last night. I can't get comfortable.

"I'm in a lot of pain. My whole leg has swollen to twice its size. I have massive bruises on my legs and shoulders", he added.

The men were described as white.

One was in his late 30s and was around 6ft 4ins, the other was in his late 20s and was small but well built, Antonio said.

GMP has been contacted for comment.