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Badger attack 'like a horror film'

13th May 2003 -Birmingham Post

The wife of a man who was savaged by a badger outside their home said today he would be permanently scarred by the ordeal.

Pam Fitzgerald said the attack on her husband Michael, 67, at the front door of their house in Evesham, Worcestershire, was "like something out of a horror movie".

The animal injured four other people during a 48-hour rampage around the town in what is thought to be an "unprecedented" attack.

It left Mr Fitzgerald with severe wounds to his forearm and legs.

The retired BBC producer and director has undergone skins grafts at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham. He is expected to return home later today.

Mrs Fitzgerald, 60, said she and her husband had gone to bed at around 11pm last Friday when they heard a loud bang in their garage.

Her husband went to investigate and opened the garage to let the badger out before retiring to the front door to watch it go.

Instead of scuttling away, the animal headed straight for him and attacked.

Mrs Fitzgerald, who had come downstairs and was standing behind her husband at the time, said: "It was like something out of a horror movie, he was bleeding so badly.

"To hear your husband screaming and shouting in such pain, it was horrifying."

She called an ambulance which took Mr Fitzgerald to Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester, but doctors decided he needed plastic surgery in Birmingham.

Mrs Fitzgerald said she had been to visit her husband several times in hospital, adding: "He is very badly shaken up and he's going to be permanently scarred."

Worcestershire Badger Society put down the badger after catching it in a trap laid on the Fitzgeralds' front lawn.

It is thought it had escaped from a local visitor centre, where it had been kept in captivity.

Mrs Fitzgerald added: "From what we understand, it would not have been frightened of humans. Badgers have been known to attack badgers from other setts, which is probably why it went for Mike, because he was a stranger."

Badger society chairman Mike Weaver said the mammal had attacked four other people, including a young man in the Greenhill area of Evesham.

Mr Weaver said: "I have never heard of anything like this in 24 years of work with badgers throughout the UK."

He acknowledged that injured badgers or those which were being handled had been known to bite humans, but attributed its "uncharacteristic" behaviour to the fact it had been kept in captivity prior to its period of freedom.

"For them to attack people is unheard of," Mr Weaver added.

"This badger had no fear of humans and it shows the folly of trying to keep wild animals as pets."

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