Cyclist brutally attacked and robbed of his bike in broad daylight in Cardiff's Bute Park

split image of man with facial injuries and man's injured legs
-Credit: (Image: Damian Slowik)

A man said he feared for his life in a broad daylight robbery in one of Cardiff's busiest parks. Damian Slowik was sitting on a bench in Bute Park when a man viciously attacked him while a woman made off with his bike, he told WalesOnline.

Mr Slowik, 31, was repeatedly punched and placed in a chokehold during the robbery at around 4pm on July 1 in an area of the park near Cardiff Castle. He said no passers-by intervened despite him repeatedly shouting for help. Mr Slowik, a Polish national who has lived in Cardiff for 12 years, had always felt safe in Bute Park but has now said he will "never go there again", adding: "I am shocked that this could happen in bright daylight in the centre of the capital city."

Badly bruised, Mr Slowik said he managed to restrain his attacker for around 15 minutes but he claimed it took police 40 minutes to get to the scene after a witness called 999, despite Cardiff Central police station being minutes away on foot. A South Wales Police spokeswoman said: "Being a victim of robbery is a frightening experience, and this incident, which was reported at around 4.15pm on July 1, is being fully investigated. As a result of enquiries, two suspects have been identified and efforts are being made to arrest them."

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Mr Slowik, a manual labourer, said a man and a woman, both in their 20s and dressed all in black, approached him while he was seated. He told WalesOnline: "The man said to me: 'Why are you looking at my girl?' He clenched his fist and made a step forward, and I stood up and stepped back. Then I saw the girl taking my bike which had been leaning against the bench. I managed to grab the bike from the girl, and we both fell over. The man then sucker-punched me really hard to the back of the head. I blacked out for a few seconds and then he was standing over me, punching me, and he broke my glasses. The girl cycled away.

"I kicked his legs and he fell on me and continued to hit me. I was trying to stop his hands connecting to my face. I was scared he could have a knife. At one point he put me in a chokehold which I got out of. He was kicking me, kneeing me, trying to elbow me. I was screaming my lungs out for help. Apart from one man who called the authorities, no-one did anything. People were just cycling past and jogging past."

injured body
Damian Slowik said he sustained cuts and bruises in the robbery -Credit:Damian Slowik

Mr Slowik, who estimated the altercation lasted 15 minutes, said he tried to restrain the man and stop him from leaving but eventually the attacker fled through the exit near Pettigrew's cafe. "I was shouting, 'I just got robbed by him', but nobody seemed to care," said Mr Slowik, who was left with many bruises and scratches across his body, with a big lump on the back of his head and severe neck pain, though hospital medics told him he had no fractures. He estimated the attacker landed a dozen blows on him. Mr Slowik's bike, a lime-green Transition Scout, was worth around £1,000 and just that day he had spent £33 on getting it repaired. He also had to buy new glasses.

"The Cardiff Central police station is five minutes away so I think it was unacceptable it took 40 minute for police to arrive," said Mr Slowik, who had been aware of the 2021 murder of Dr Gary Jenkins in Bute Park but still considered it a safe place. "I always thought any incidents would be after dark, not in daylight on a summer day. In the 12 years I've lived in Cardiff I have always cycled in Bute Park. It's one of my favourite spots but I will never go there again. I really got scared. I can't sleep, I lie down for two hours and all I see is what happened. I feel gutted when I think about it."

A Transition Scout bike
Damian Slowik's Transition Scout bike -Credit:Damian Slowik

If you have any information about this incident you can contact police by calling 101 and quoting reference number 2400218157. For the latest crime news, sign up to our newsletter here