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October 16, 2003

Firework horror of deaf couple

From: Manchester Evening News, UK - Oct 16, 2003

James Ducker

A DEAF elderly couple have spoken of their horror when a firework was thrown through the front door of their flat by yobs.

John Johnson and his wife Doreen were about to sit down to dinner at their home in Dukinfield when the doorbell rang.

John opened the door to be confronted by two youths who threw a blazing firework at him.

The firework - a Roman candle - burnt his face and ricocheted around the living room of the flat, burning the door, ceiling, walls and windows, and nearly hit Doreen in the head.

Emergency services took John to Tameside General Hospital suffering from minor burns and severe swelling to the left side of his face.

Now grandparents John and Doreen are backing the MEN's campaign for an all-out ban on over-the-counter sales of fireworks.

John, who will celebrate his 66th birthday next week, said: "It was absolutely horrifying, I'm just glad we were not more seriously hurt.

"I couldn't believe it, I just opened the door and there were two lads with this firework. Before I knew it they had thrown the firework at me and it was darting all around the room, burning everything it touched."

Doreen, 60, said: "I completely agree with the campaign to ban the over-the-counter sales of fireworks. What happened to us was shocking, children should not be playing with fireworks but I am just thankful John was not more seriously hurt."

Margaret Lennard, 45, who acts as a carer for John and Doreen, said she was appalled at what had happened.


She said: "I'm shocked and disgusted. It's unbelievable to think that someone would want to do this. John and Doreen have had problems in the past with kids because they see that they are deaf and enjoy making fun of them."

The incident happened around 4.30pm yesterday. Two 15-year-old boys were last night arrested.

The attack was branded "callous" and "despicable" by police today.

Det Insp Derek Weaver, of Stalybridge CID, said: "This shows what happens when fireworks get into the wrong hands. This was a despicable and callous act and could have been far more serious."

In another incident in Elizabeth Street, Cheetham Hill, two boys aged 14 and 17, suffered cuts and burns to the face and body when a firework they were playing exploded.

The M.E.N. revealed yesterday how the government is rushing through a crackdown on firework louts in time for New Year's Eve, following the success of our campaign.

The move came after Tony Blair threw his weight behind the crusade for greater fireworks control - which MPs and councillors say is a major public concern.

The three-point plan - revealed to the MEN by Home Office minister and Salford MP Hazel Blears - will be in place before Christmas and makes it an offence for under 18s to possess fireworks.

There will also be a curfew on using fireworks after 11pm and a complete ban on air bomb sales.

The MEN has campaigned for a ban on over-the-counter sales of fireworks.

© Copyright 2003 GMG Regional Digital .