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Teen rugby player horrifically mowed down and beaten by Rochdale gang was 'racial attack'


rochdale attack Matthew Hayden MEN

HATE CRIME: Matthew Hayden, 17, has been left with a fractured skull

Matthew Hayden, 17, suffred a fractured skull and needed emergency surgery for a brain bleed after an "unprovoked" and "horrendous" attack in Littleborough, Rochdale, on Saturday morning. 

The "promising" Littleborough RUFC player was driving on Smithy Bridge Road when his Vauxhall Corsa was struck by a black Nissan Micra.

When Matthew got out of the car, the Micra mowed him down before the attackers, one of whom had a golf club, battered him. 

Police said the attackers, described as four or five Asian males, launched racial abuse at Matthew as they beat him on the floor at around 2am. 

One of the attackers is believed to have smashed his car window and struck his friend Josh Jones, 18, with a crowbar, leaving him with "significant hand and facial injuries". 

Matthew Hayden MEN

HORRENOUS: Police say the attack on Matthew Hayden was racially-motivated

A third friend Zac Madden, who was a passenger in the car, managed to escape unharmed.

Greater Manchester Police have tonight revealed that it is treating the attack as a hate crime.

Matthew is recovering at Salford Royal Hospital, but his family feared he may never play rugby again. 

In a statement, his club Littleborough RUFC said Matthew said has had to cancel a scholarship in America this summer.

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“This was an unprovoked attack”

Detective Inspector Mark McDowall

Matthew has been described as a "loyal", "caring" and "gentle" lad by his family. 

In a statement, his family said: “He is always the first to help anybody in need. He was one of the first people onto the M62 to help the stranded people during the ‘Beast from the East’.

"He is loyal and caring and has a very gentle nature.

"He had just been offered a rugby scholarship in America and was so excited. He is devastated that this has been taken away from him.

"We would urge anybody who has any information to contact the police as soon as possible."

“The man is still in hospital recovering from this brutal assault and I hope he makes a speedy recovery," Greater Manchester Police said in a statement. 

“This was an unprovoked attack that has left the victim with life changing injuries, so it’s vital that we find the people responsible for this horrendous incident.

“Even though this happened in the early hours of the morning, I’d urge anyone who heard or saw anything out of the ordinary on Smithy Bridge Road, or who saw the men in the black Nissan Micra at any time, to get in touch.

“They are described as being four or five Asian males, of thin build and aged between late teens to early twenties.

“Our officers will be carrying out additional patrols in the area while the investigation continues, so I’d ask that you speak to them directly or ring 0161 856 8441 if you have any information."

Matthew Hayden MEN

HORRIFIC: Matthew Hayden was left with a fractured skull

Aaron Jones, from Littleborough RUFC, told the MEN: “It has shocked everyone at the club. Matthew and Josh are down-to-earth lads, they’re not troublemakers.

“They’ve been playing for first team and really made a big impression on people at the club.

“Everyone is relieved they are alright. Matthew knows he is lucky to be alive and we just want those who did this to be caught.”

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