Teenage brothers who shattered the skull of a former care worker as he tried to protect a schoolboy have been named for the first time after a judge lifted reporting restrictions.
Archie and George Tilley were jailed for 12 years each after they battered former carer Alan Willson with a 3ft wooden log in a park on Easter Sunday last year following a row over a frisbee.
Mr Wilson, 47, was left with ‘significant life-changing brain injuries’, lung trauma, and broken bones when he ran to the aid of an 11-year-old, Lewes Crown Court heard.
The judge said he was left bloodied, incapacitated and on the ground in the aftermath of the remorseless attack.
Police were called to Whitebeam Road in Worthing at around 19.30pm on April 4, last year after Mr Willson was found injured in the street following the vicious assault in nearby Longcroft Park.
He was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton where he had brain surgery. After three months in hospital his rehabilitation is now continuing at home.
George Tilley was 13 and Archie 14 when they attacked Mr Willson with a force Judge Christine Henson QC described as ‘beyond the comprehension of most people’.
George Tilley, who will turn 15 next week, and his brother Archie, now 16, were told they are a significant danger to the public.
The brothers showed no emotion when they were handed nine year custodial sentences. A three year extended licence was added by the judge following an assessment of their dangerousness.
Harry Furlong, 18, of Horsham joined the pair in the dock and was jailed for 20 months for his part in beating of Mr Willson.
Following an application by News UK, the teenage boy’s identities can now be revealed to the public.
Lifting the reporting restriction on identifying the Tilleys, Judge Henson said it was just luck Mr Willson had not been killed.
‘Lifting the restriction would have no or little impact on the rehabilitation process. I am satisfied it is now in the interests of justice to lift the restriction,’ Judge Henson said.
Archie (left) and George Tilley (right) were jailed for 12 years each after they battered former carer Alan Willson with a 3ft wooden log in a park on Easter Sunday last year following a row over a frisbee
Alan Wilson, 47, was left with ‘significant life-changing brain injuries’ when he ran to the aid of an 11-year-old, Lewes Crown Court heard
Harry Furlong (pictured), 18, from Horsham, West Sussex, joined the pair in the dock and was found guilty of GBH without intent.
Their claims of self defence were described as lacking credibility, the judge said.
‘None of you had any injuries of any note following this brutal attack. This was a group activity, initiated by Archie, enthusiastically joined by George.
‘Harry Furlong, yours was a lesser role. Nevertheless, you joined in,’ the judge told them.
The Tilleys will be eligible to apply for parole after serving eight years. Furlong will serve at least half his 20 month sentence in custody.
Archie Tilley had two previous convictions for three offences. George had five convictions for 18 offences. He was only ten at the time of his first recorded offence. All the offences were for violence including ABH and battery.
The jury were shown chilling train station CCTV footage of the boys re-enacting their brutal assault on Mr Willson.
The teenagers bragged and joked as Mr Willson was being airlifted to hospital. A girl who saw the boys at the train station described to police how they were ‘bragging’.
A jury in Hove heard the attack started after the boys were involved in a row with another 11-year-old over a frisbee.
Mr Willson, 46, suffered severe and life changing head injuries when he was beaten with a heavy, blunt object. He was in hospital for three months.
Asked about his recovery, wife Annie Willson said: ‘He has recovered as much as he’s going to. He will never speak again.
‘He has no mental capacity although it fluctuates. He is continent but not always. He is the most frustrated person I’ve ever seen because on the days when he has capacity, he knows what he wants to say but he can’t say it.’
The boy who witnessed the attack described how Mr Willson and the other three boys started arguing.
The Tilleys will be eligible to apply for parole after serving eight years. Furlong will serve at least half his 20 month sentence in custody
The boy told police: ‘One of them just came like grabbing and pushing him and then they all started whacking him with like stumps or like really large thick sticks.’
Mr Willson was bleeding heavily from his ears and head when his wife found him lying on a park footpath near their home in Worthing, West Sussex.
Mrs Willson was was told by doctors his injuries were catastrophic and they did not believe he would survive.
The jury heard a harrowing list of the horrific injuries. He suffered brain damage skull fractures, facial fractures, damage to his eyes and rib fractures.
Furlong was convicted of grievous bodily harm by a majority of 11 to one. George and Archie Tilley were found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent by unanimous jury verdict at Lewes Crown Court in Hove.
In a gripping victim statement, Mrs Willson said her life has stopped. She walked confidently to the witness box before turning to the dock and directing her words straight at the Tilleys and Harry Furlong.
Furlong and Archie Tilley followed her words while George Tilley tried not to look at her.
Mr Willson was bleeding heavily from his ears and head when his wife found him lying on a park footpath near their home in Worthing, West Sussex. Pictured: Archie Tilley
Mrs Willson said: ‘On Sunday 4th April 2021, Easter Sunday you destroyed my family and have broken us beyond repair. I will never forget turning up in that park and seeing what you had done to my Alan. You took away a husband, father grandad, brother, cousin and uncle.
‘Alan was the gentlest man who would help anyone at the drop of a hat, no questions asked. You attacked him as a group, and did not stop until he was on the floor, bleeding and unconscious.
‘He was keen snowboarder and football fan and enjoyed his time with his family, meals out and making his children laugh uncontrollably. We brought our children up with good morals. I do believe that before this happened, my son and his friends invited you to play football with them. Little did they know what you would end up doing to my Alan.
‘Now because of your actions my husband cannot speak, cannot play with his children, cannot work and cannot control his body. He has no mental capacity, no vision in his left eye and has a massive brain injury from which he will never fully recover. He has hearing problems, dental problems, cannot toilet himself or take care of his personal hygiene. He is not the same man.
‘He is locked in this strange body that he doesn’t understand. He will never again be able to enjoy the things he took so much pleasure in. He no longer says silly things to make us laugh. He no longer gives us hugs and cuddles that we used to enjoy so much. You have no only subjected him to a life sentence, but also me, our young son and the rest of Alan’s family.
‘Many, many tears have been shed by me and Alan’s family, grieving the loss of a great man. Even though he is hanging on to life he will never lead a normal life again and will always depend on others.
‘People say at least he is alive and as my anger bubbles from the pit of my stomach I have to reply, this is no life! I’m sure that Alan, me and out children will be serving a sentence much longer that you!
‘He is a fighter, and I will not let you win. We are a strong family and know the difference between right and wrong. You clearly do not! No child is born this way, this is learnt behaviour. I hope that when you are missing your family, when you are alone and have time to reflect that tears roll down your faces and you spare a thought for my family. The family you have destroyed.
Police were called to Whitebeam Road in Worthing at around 19.30pm on April 4, last year after Mr Willson was found injured in the street following the assault in nearby Longcroft Park (pictured)
‘On 4th April 2021 you took my soul mate!! You plunged our lives into darkness and changed our family dynamics forever. You took a father a brother an uncle a cousin and a grandad.
‘My husband has had all methods of communication taken from him he cannot speak, gesture or write things down.
‘This is the ultimate form of torture. Trapped forever there is no fix! I take him to use the toilet. I sit and watch him like a hawk when eating, else he chokes.
‘He cannot cough, unless it’s a reflex cough. He cannot clear his throat, he doesn’t know how to. My life has stopped.
‘There is no more joy, no more popping out with my daughter for the day shopping, no more parents evenings to go to as my son is too scared to leave the house so he is studying life skills at home. E.g. how to look after a disabled dad.
‘My son cannot just go to his mates any more for the week as he needs to check all shopping is in as when he leaves the house I am trapped as Alan is to unsteady to go on a shopping trip due to being permanently dizzy which he will be forever due to brain damage and neuro fatigue.
‘When I am at home in the quiet as I now suffer from PTSD and anxiety I reflect on my memories of hearing a ridiculously high pitched rendition of Mika in the shower or fix up look sharp by Dizzy Rascal when I used to have the strop always brought to an end by Alan’s cheeky smile. Or being made to watch snowboarding videos of Alan again and again.
Judge Henson told the brothers any recent demonstration of remorse was only for their own situation. ‘There is a significant risk you will both cause serious harm by committing similar offences’
‘But you didn’t know the man you battered nearly to death, he doesn’t give up easily. And you don’t know the power of finding a soul mate and the lengths you will go to, to protect that person.
‘EG feeding them every two hours during the day by syringe and setting up a feeding rig to be changed at 5AM cleaning and washing a bed ridden loved one. You don’t know how it feels to spend a year of your life talking AT someone rather than WITH someone trying desperately to guess what you thing they are trying to say and listening to them crying when you get it wrong.
‘When you were laughing and being disrespectful in the doc after the jury’s verdict my husband was in hospital after having a prolonged seizure that lasted 30 minutes and was temporarily left paralysed down his right side. I shouldn’t been with him by his side but instead I came to court so I could tell my son truthfully that he could go out to play again should he wish to, but guess what, he has no desire to go out to play again.
‘No sentence that you get will ever be long enough as it is Alan who has the life sentence together with myself and my family.’
Judge Henson commended Mrs Willson for her eloquently read statement.
The Tilley brothers history of violence was laid bare at their sentencing for the senseless attack on Alan Willson.
Her Honour Judge Christine Henson QC detailed the escalating danger they both posed to the public.
George Tilley was only ten when he received his first police caution. Archie Tilley admitted violent assaults on other children when he was 11.
They both showed escalating violent and threatening behaviours towards their peers and adults.
Despite extensive intervention, there was little evidence of any meaningful impact in their criminal behaviour or danger to the public, the judge said.
They are both pose a high risk of reoffending.
George Tilley continued to demonstrate worrying aggression towards others, Judge Henson said. Archie showed anger issues of great concern and both had lives dominated by violent behaviours.
Judge Henson told the brothers any recent demonstration of remorse was only for their own situation.
‘There is a significant risk you will both cause serious harm by committing similar offences.
‘The use of a weapon, physical and psychological impact on him and family, frenzied nature of the group assault which continued when he was bloodied, incapacitated and on the ground.’
The Tilleys had humiliated their victims and continued to justify their use of violence.
Handing them both an extended sentence of 12 years, Judge Henson told them: ‘The shortest sentence, allowing for age, would have been nine years.
‘I do not think that would be long enough.’