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'It just doesn't feel safe' - Neighbours' footpath fear following city knife attack

PUBLISHED: 14:06 17 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:32 17 January 2020

Nathan Murphy (top right) was slashed in the face during a knife attack on Lakenham tracks. Picture Peter Walsh/NathanMurphy

Nathan Murphy (top right) was slashed in the face during a knife attack on Lakenham tracks. Picture Peter Walsh/NathanMurphy

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A community on the edge of Norwich says a footpath along a former railway track has almost become a no-go zone thanks to fears over crime.

Lakenham Way, Norwich. PIC: Peter WalshLakenham Way, Norwich. PIC: Peter Walsh

On Tuesday, 30-year-old care worker Nathan Murphy was walking along Lakenham Way, which runs between Sandy Lane and Brazen Gate, when he was jumped by an attacker who slashed his face with a knife.

Following his attack, neighbours living nearby have spoken of the fear the footpath fills them with, and concerns about drug taking, drug dealing and anti-social behaviour in the area.

A 67-year-old woman living on Ashby Street said: "I used to walk my dog along the track, but I definitely wouldn't anymore - it just doesn't feel safe.

"I got broken into two years ago and you do often see drug dealing going on in the alleyways and pockets alongside the road. Personally, I would like to see police patrol the area more."

Nathan Murphy was slashed in the face during a knife attack on Lakenham tracks. Picture: Nathan MurphyNathan Murphy was slashed in the face during a knife attack on Lakenham tracks. Picture: Nathan Murphy

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A 66-year-old man who runs a business in the area said: "I've heard about what happened to the man and from what I've heard it's not the first time something like this has happened on Lakenham Way.

"You often see people just hanging about on the street and wonder what they are doing. I would definitely like to see more bobbies on the beat in the area."

A 76-year-old neighbour added: "I am always a bit apprehensive walking down the old railway track and certainly wouldn't want to do so early in the morning or after dark."

Another Ashby Street homeowner said they had recently seen a man injecting a substance into his groin close to a children's play area in the park.

She said: "We always overhear people arranging drug collections and deals and do occasionally hear arguments and shouting. I wouldn't say I feel unsafe though."

But Suzanne Sharman, a 36-year-old IT consultant of Ashby Street, said: "I think overall the area is fairly quiet and I'm not aware of too much trouble. However, I wouldn't feel safe walking down Lakenham Way on my own.

"I do regularly go running down there, but with friends and in daylight hours, the same as I would down Marriott's Way."

A spokesman for Norfolk Constabulary previously said: "While this specific incident doesn't appear to have been reported to us, we are aware of ongoing drug-related activity in the Lakenham tracks area. We regularly patrol this area, and will continue to take the appropriate response to incidents."

They encouraged people to report incidents on 101.

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