Marlon Thomas: Family suffering 'every day' after racist attack

Thirty years after a brutal racist attack that left Marlon Thomas in a waking coma, his family say justice still hasn't been served.

Marlon, from Bristol, was 18 when he was attacked by a group of fairground workers on Durdham Downs in 1994, leaving him permanently brain damaged.

Now, his brother, Leroy, who makes music under the name Rudey Lee, is releasing an EP as a tribute.

He hopes the music will attract more attention to what happened to Marlon.

The record, called No Justice, features tracks by fellow Bristol musicians, including the iconic trip hop group Smith and Mighty.

It has been released on Saturday to mark the 30th anniversary of the attack.

'Marlon suffers everyday'

Marlon is now 48 and requires 24-hour care. He can only communicate via blinking.

"I am constantly paying attention to the care agency to make sure everyone is pulling their weight," said Leroy.

"I know we are dealing with humans, but I cannot afford to be complacent.

"If you make one tiny mistake or overlook one tiny thing it has knock-on effect that can affect his health which can be detrimental to Marlon."

In the wake of the attack, Leroy Thomas launched a campaign seeking justice for this brother.

He said he wants to shed light on "how destructive to people's lives violence, and in particular racial violence, can be".

He added that Marlon is "still suffering every day".

"I do not know what other people mean by the phrase 'no justice no peace', but for me it means if there is not any justice then how can you expect any peace," he said.

"If there is no justice then the person who suffered can never have any peace. Our family has had no peace.

"Just from Marlon's condition it has been a continuous and constant daily battle with each area of Marlon's life because of his condition."

On the 10th anniversary, in 2004, Marlon's mum, Catherine, said he had been "a happy young man" who enjoyed music and basketball.

"To see him sitting in a wheelchair like this, it just makes me feel really upset," she said, adding that it was very difficult that her 18-year-old son "suddenly" become "like a baby".

Fairground on Durdham Downs in 1994
Marlon was attacked by fairground workers on Durdham Downs in 1994 [BBC]

The judge at the trial of his attackers said the teenager was suffering a "living death".

Marlon was the oldest of the young people who were attacked - they were all black and beaten up by a large group of white youths.

At the time, his brother said: "I never forget all the other children that were there," calling it "child abuse".

Four of the youths, including the fair owner's son, were found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm.

They were sentenced to 20 and half years collectively.

Their sentences were eventually increased by the High Court.

Follow BBC Bristol on Facebook, X and Instagram. Send your story ideas to us on email or via WhatsApp on 0800 313 4630.