An NHS worker has personally thanked the hospital carers who helped him recover from the horrific injuries he suffered after being hit by a car in a racist attack a year ago.
Katungua Tjitendero, 21, who is know as K, or by his stage name as a musician, Kdogg, was hit by a dark blue Honda Accord as he walked to a bus stop after finishing work at Southmead Hospital in Bristol at about 4.30pm on July 22 last year.
K, speaking as Avon and Somerset Police renewed an appeal to find the attacker responsible for the racially-aggravated attempted murder, said: “My attackers broke my body, but not my heart or Bristol’s heart nor did they poison it.
“I want justice not revenge, I am bouncing back – that will be my victory. Watch me fly. Thank you NHS. Thank you Bristol. I am here because of you.”
K and his family were due to return to Southmead Hospital for a face-to-face meeting to thank some of the staff who cared for him, but because of having to self-isolate, the visit had to be online.
He spoke to North Bristol NHS Trust chief executive Maria Kane and emergency department nurse Laura Vass, who was one of the first people to care for K when he was taken to hospital.
Witnesses told police the occupants of the car shouted racist abuse at K before running off.
He suffered injuries including a broken leg, nose and cheekbone – leaving him unable to walk or stand up and requiring three operations.
Both K and his mother Hivaka work at the North Bristol NHS Trust, but he is not yet fit enough to return to his job.
His mother said: “The attack on my son, because he is a black man, exposes a sickness in our society.
“I’m one of the lucky mothers, my son came home alive. My heart goes out to all those families whose loved ones didn’t.
“I am eternally grateful to those who saved my son’s life. If you know who attacked my son please call the police.”
Avon and Somerset Police said there has been an outpouring of support for K and his family locally, nationally and internationally.
There have been four arrests and a £5,000 reward offered from the charity Crimestoppers, but no-one has been charged.
Ms Kane said both K and his mother are thought of as “very much part of our family” by their colleagues at the North Bristol NHS Trust and “so when we heard about what happened it hit everyone extremely hard”.
She said: “One year on, his colleagues are reminded of the horrific attack on their friend and are disheartened that those responsible still haven’t been caught.
“We are absolutely committed to stamping out racism in all its forms, and any racism towards our staff will not be tolerated.”
K and his family are being supported by the charity Stand Against Racism and Inequality (Sari).
Alex Raikes, a director at Sari, said: “The physical injury may have healed to some extent but the emotional toil has been huge, with every one of the family deeply, psychologically scarred.
“Each has also seen their health worsen due to the stress of the situation.
“What is making things so much worse is that despite such a horrific racist attack in broad daylight that so nearly took Kdogg’s life, his attackers are not brought to justice.
“They remain at large and, given the brutality of this cold-hearted assault, they could strike again and may well be harming others.
“Such racist attitudes are very dangerous if left unchecked.”
Avon and Somerset Police described the investigation into the attack as “complex” and one that it counts as a priority.
It has involved detailed forensic work and hours of CCTV footage being studied, while its progress has been monitored by both the police chief officer group and the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
Detective Chief Inspector Mike Buck said that given the severity of K’s injuries his “remarkable physical recovery is thanks to his own and his family’s strength and the work of his NHS colleagues”.
He said: “We’re determined to bring those responsible for this atrocious racist attack to justice.
“It’s been a year. If you saw who was driving that dark blue Honda Accord and haven’t spoken to us, now is the time.
“If you are shielding those responsible – they don’t deserve it.
“Think about yourself. Are people capable of this violence worth your support?”
He asked if they should instead be helping to protect people like K and his mother “who have been working with their NHS colleagues to look after us all, throughout the Covid pandemic”.
Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford, who said he has been “overwhelmed” by the “incredible courage and resilience” which K and his family have shown, added: “Hate destroys communities and perpetuates division when, in fact, what we need most is cohesion and inclusion.
“This awful attack does not reflect the true values of the Bristol community.”
He urged anyone who has information about the attack to come forward.