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Suspect charged after cyclist repeatedly punched and put in chokehold during violent bikejacking

“I was shouting, ‘I just got robbed by him’, but nobody seemed to care,” said the cyclist who initially had complaints about the police's slow response to the crime...

A man has been charged after a cyclist was robbed of their £2,000 bike in Cardiff city centre, the victim punched a dozen times and placed in a chokehold. The victim had slammed the police for arriving 40 minutes after the crime was reported despite the police station being five minutes away on foot, while also claiming that no bystanders came to his aid despite crying out for help.

In a statement, a South Wales Police spokesperson has since confirmed that a man has now been charged. They said: "Officers investigating a robbery which happened in Bute Park on Monday, July 1, have arrested and charged a man. Bailey Hanlon, 20, from Swansea, was arrested on Sunday, July 7, and charged with robbery, theft of a motor vehicle and other traffic offences. He has been remanded in custody and is scheduled to appear before Cardiff Crown Court on Monday, August 5. Investigations continue."

Damian Slowik, a 31-year-old Polish international who’s lived in Cardiff for 12 years, was riding his lime green Transition Scout mountain bike which he had just got repaired, in Bute Park near Cardiff Castle on Monday around 4pm when a man brutally attacked him while a woman made off with his bike.

Slowik said that a man and a woman, both in their 20s and dressed all in black, approached him while he was seated and asked him: “Why are you looking at my girl?”

The man then clenched his fists and stepped forward, when Slowik moved back. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the woman grab his bike which was leaning on the bench. He tried seizing hold of the bike from the woman, but they both fell to the ground.

Slowik was then “sucker-punched” by the man in the back of his head, causing him to black out for a few seconds. When he regained consciousness, he found that the man was still standing over him and punching him, even breaking his glasses.

The woman proceeded to ride away with the bike, but Slowik kicked at the man’s legs making him fall over as well. “I was trying to stop his hands connecting to my face,” he said. “I was scared he could have a knife. At one point he put me in a chokehold which I got out of. He was kicking me, kneeing me, trying to elbow me.

“I was screaming my lungs out for help. Apart from one man who called the authorities, no one did anything. People were just cycling past and jogging past.”

He said that he had always felt safe in Bute Park but now will “never go there again”, adding: “I am shocked that this could happen in bright daylight in the centre of the capital city.”

> Knife-wielding moped muggers assault cyclist in latest “very targeted” attack at bikejacking hotspot

Slowik said he managed to restrain his attacker for around 15 minutes but he claimed it took police 40 minutes to get to the scene after a witness called 999, despite Cardiff Central police station being minutes away on foot, reports WalesOnline.

“The Cardiff Central police station is five minutes away so I think it was unacceptable it took 40 minutes for police to arrive,” said Slowik, who had been aware of the 2021 murder of Dr Gary Jenkins in Bute Park but still considered it a safe place.

“I always thought any incidents would be after dark, not in daylight on a summer day. In the 12 years I've lived in Cardiff I have always cycled in Bute Park. It’s one of my favourite spots but I will never go there again. I really got scared. I can’t sleep, I lie down for two hours and all I see is what happened. I feel gutted when I think about it.”

Slowik also wrote on Facebook yesterday: “Cardiff Uber delivery is faster than South Wales Police responding to robbery. Any thieves reading my post, wear balaclava and gloves, don’t fight your victim stab them instead. Guaranteed to walk free without punishment…”

A South Wales Policespokeswoman said: "Being a victim of robbery is a frightening experience, and this incident, which was reported at around 4.15pm on July 1, is being fully investigated. As a result of enquiries, two suspects have been identified and efforts are being made to arrest them."

The rise of bikejackings in the UK has become an ever-worrying concern for many cyclists. In April, Regents Park in London, which over the last couple of years has seen many such incidents, was site to yet another violent bikejacking when a 6ft 7in cyclist was pushed into a fence and held down with a knife by four muggers on mopeds during an early morning training ride.

The cyclist, a member of the southwest London-based Onyx RT racing team – was riding in Regent’s Park, a popular training ground due to its quiet, sometimes traffic-free roads, had his bike and cycling computer stolen by the four men who threatened him with a knife.

Cyclists and police near Regent's Park (Instagram: @rpcyclists)

> British Cycling, Rapha and Brompton join call for more police action for cyclists being “systematically targeted by criminals” in violent bikejackings

After the incident, he said: “Two mopeds, two men on each coming towards me at Outer Circle, Regent’s Park. I jumped up the kerb and onto the sidewalk and sprinted. Thought the kerb may protect me from them coming after me.

“They turned around and shouted at me to stop, then pushed me into the fence – I hit the fence. While they were getting off their mopeds I threw my phone into the dark grass. I tried to do the same with my Wahoo, but they grabbed it. Held me down with a knife while frisking me.”

Sean Epstein, the chair of the Regent’s Park Cyclists group, said the attack is the latest in a series of “very targeted” and “professional” attacks on cyclists riding high-end bikes in the area, which he says have increased significantly since September and put many people, especially women, off riding their bikes.

This latest bikejacking took place just months after the Regent’s Park Cyclists group, supported by British Cycling, Rapha, and Brompton, called on the Metropolitan Police to station more officers at the London crime hotspot in a bid to stem the seemingly constant flow of bikejackings in the area.

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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13 comments

Avatar
neilmck | 2 weeks ago
3 likes

This sounds typical. I've gone to the aid of several people who have been attacked in the street over the years, but I have always been alone, no one has ever helped me, they have only ever stopped and watched.

Avatar
quiff | 2 weeks ago
1 like

This sounds more like individuals rather than "stealing to order" variety of organised bike jackings, but still really concerning - this is a really pleasant park and somewhere I wouldn't normally hesitate to sit with a bike during the day. 

Avatar
Boopop | 2 weeks ago
1 like

I've looked up carrying pepper spray and similar in the past. Supposedly illegal but has never actually been tested in court. Reading about shocking instances like this and terrible police and public response, it's tempting to get one for myself. I remember riding through Greater Manchester along a busway last year on my Hase Pino (an expensive tandem). Saw two teenagers riding the other way on a dirt bike, with balaclavas on. Set my heart racing. Hopefully the new govt. will start to improve things but I'm not overly optimistic.

Avatar
mark1a replied to Boopop | 2 weeks ago
12 likes

Boopop wrote:

I've looked up carrying pepper spray and similar in the past. Supposedly illegal but has never actually been tested in court. Reading about shocking instances like this and terrible police and public response, it's tempting to get one for myself.

I really wouldn't advise that, it has been tested in court. Bertrand Gachot (former F1 driver) was jailed in 1991 for pepper-spraying a taxi driver in London. 

On a more positive note, his enforced absence enabled Eddie Jordan to give a young German whippersnapper his debut - Michael Schumacher.

 

Avatar
OldRidgeback replied to Boopop | 2 weeks ago
0 likes

Boopop wrote:

I've looked up carrying pepper spray and similar in the past. Supposedly illegal but has never actually been tested in court. Reading about shocking instances like this and terrible police and public response, it's tempting to get one for myself. I remember riding through Greater Manchester along a busway last year on my Hase Pino (an expensive tandem). Saw two teenagers riding the other way on a dirt bike, with balaclavas on. Set my heart racing. Hopefully the new govt. will start to improve things but I'm not overly optimistic.

There are ways you can defend yourself legally. I'd do some research into the topic if you're really concerned.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Boopop | 2 weeks ago
4 likes

Boopop wrote:

I've looked up carrying pepper spray and similar in the past. Supposedly illegal but has never actually been tested in court.

Google convictions for pepper spray UK and you'll find plenty of people who have been convicted for using it; pepper spray is classed as a prohibited firearm and carries the same penalties for possession (six months to ten years in prison). Don't risk it, apart from the legal implications if you're attacked by two people as was the case in this instance it's quite possible – one might even say probable – that your "self defence" weapon will end up being used against you.

If you're concerned about this risk, maybe consider getting a personal attack alarm, you can get ones now that emit around 140 dB, a physically painful noise level which could scare off would be theives and is legal to carry.

Avatar
HoarseMann replied to Boopop | 2 weeks ago
1 like

You can get 'non-toxic' sprays that are legal to carry in the uk as an alternative to the illegal pepper/pava/cs sprays. But if used, you could still be done for assault...

https://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/ask-the-police/question/Q589

Avatar
mdavidford | 2 weeks ago
8 likes

road.cc wrote:

The cyclist [...] was stolen off his bike

Reminder to readers: don't buy any cyclists from eBay unless you've seen proof of purchase.

Avatar
Bungle_52 | 2 weeks ago
2 likes

Quote:

“I was screaming my lungs out for help. Apart from one man who called the authorities, no one did anything. People were just cycling past and jogging past"

May be that's the real problem.

Avatar
Tom_77 replied to Bungle_52 | 2 weeks ago
0 likes

Bungle_52 wrote:

Quote:

“I was screaming my lungs out for help. Apart from one man who called the authorities, no one did anything. People were just cycling past and jogging past"

May be that's the real problem.

In fairness, I wouldn't risk getting stabbed over my own bike* let alone a stranger's bike.

* it's insured for this very reason

Avatar
cyclisto replied to Tom_77 | 2 weeks ago
1 like

Somebody could at least have stopped and scream.

 

Avatar
perce | 2 weeks ago
4 likes

Hope Damian is ok, sounds like a really nasty incident.

Avatar
open_roads | 2 weeks ago
12 likes

Police: "please give us a few more days to get our excuses lined up"

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