Disabled fresher mugged on campus in broad daylight

He was on his way home

A Newcastle University first year with mobility issues had his phone stolen on campus in broad daylight after being threatened with extreme violence.

Alex Nicklen, 19, said he did not believe the attacker had a firearm as both his hands were in plain sight but said he was “shaken and scared” by the incident.

The mugging, which happened on Claremont Road at 3pm on Sunday outside the university building Merz Court, was captured on CCTV.

The mugger was heard telling the first year to “give me your phone or I’ll put a gun to your head”.

The Politics and History fresher, who’s from Morpeth, Northumberland, believes he was specifically targeted for his disability. He told The Tab: “I had just been on a long walk as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations march in Newcastle city centre. So when I was walking home I was walking much slower and limping slightly so it was clear that I wasn’t going to be able to defend myself at all.”

Alex believes his insurance will cover the cost of a replacement phone but is now concerned he might suffer longer-term psychological issues as a result of the attack.

He said: “I already felt quite vulnerable generally, although I don’t necessarily show it. When I’m around people who look like unsavoury characters I do often think that they can see my vulnerability and so they might do something to me. I guess that fear is going to exacerbated by this incident.”

Talking about his condition, The Park Terrace resident said: “I don’t run optionally at all. I’m very slow and it’s not a very comfortable experience.

“When he was in front of me, my body was telling me to run but consciously I knew I didn’t have the capabilities to defend myself or escape from the situation. My thought was not that I was going to get shot – I didn’t think at the time that was very likely – but he was about 5’11” with an athletic build and he clearly had the capacity to beat me up at the very least.”

Northumbria Police have CCTV footage of the incident and their investigations are ongoing. It is thought that there were people in the vicinity but no one is thought to have witnessed the incident.

After the robber had run off, Alex attempted to run across Claremont Road in the direction of the Robinson Library before calling the police.

Alex, bottom right

Northumbria Police tracked down the phone to a boarded up property in Newcastle but a search of the property immediately next door found nothing.

Alex told The Tab the attacker looked like a man in his mid-twenties, about 5’10” with tanned skin and a southern British accent.

Anyone who saw the incident is asked to contact police on 101.