Former Tring Park pupil’s relief as brutal attacker is sent down

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A dancer whose neck was broken in a violent attack two years ago says he is ‘relieved’ that the culprit has now been jailed.

Jack Widdowson, a former student of Tring Park School for the Performing Arts spoke to the Gazette after Mohamoed Mohamed was sentenced to 13 years on Monday. Mohamed will be deported after he is released.

Relieved: Jack Widdowson is back to full fitness.

Relieved: Jack Widdowson is back to full fitness.

Jack said: “We are relieved its all over and we can put it behind us and move on.”

The 20-year-old was attacked by Mohamed, who also took his mobile phone, on a disused towpath in November 2011 while visiting his brother in Cardiff.

Det Con Mike Owens said he had been with family and friends on the night of the ‘shocking’ attack.

When Jack awoke in hospital, he was paralysed from the neck down. He said learning to move again was like taking classes at Tring Park.

He said: “I guess it comes from a dancer’s mentality.

“At class, you can always jump a bit higher or do one more turn, and you can apply that in the rehabilitation process. Every tiny improvement is a massive milestone.

“If I could move my hand or touch my face one day, that would be a massive improvement. Then I would try to touch my ear or lift my arm up.”

He was able to walk within seven weeks, and was taking ballet classes within four months of the attack.

Mum Celia said: “Nobody would have thought that would have been possible, so we are amazed and very grateful.

“We just think we are the luckiest people in the world.”

Jack has just finished a year-long apprenticeship with Switzerland’s Bern Ballet Company.

He will begin a year-long dance contract in Darmstadt, near Frankfurt, Germany, this August after performing in Glastonbury this weekend.

His family have set up the charity Dance Again to help injured dancers. Learn more at www.danceagain.org