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Plea after man injured in van theft

Shocking pictures of a courier lying unconscious in hospital after he clung to the side of his van in an attempt to stop it being stolen have been released by police.

Self-employed driver David Fletcher, 58, from Upminster, east London, remains in intensive care in the Royal London Hospital and has not regained consciousness since the incident on July 9. His injuries are described as "extensive and likely to be life-changing".

The pictures show the father-of-three in a hospital bed, wearing a neck brace and connected to various life support devices.

Mr Fletcher was making a delivery to a house in Wood Avenue, Purfleet, Essex, just before 12.30pm when two men jumped into his Mercedes vehicle and tried to drive off. He chased after them and tried to grab hold of the keys through the driver's window but was dragged along the road for approximately 33ft (10m) before being thrown from the moving vehicle which then drove over him.

Detective Chief Inspector Lucy Robinson said: "Despite having made progress in our inquiry, this is still very much a live investigation and we remain open- minded as to who may be responsible for this horrendous crime.

"I am convinced the answer lies locally. Someone out there will know who tried to steal that lorry and so cruelly left the victim for dead, having run him over. I would urge anyone with any information to do the right thing and contact the police."

Officers have so far arrested five men in connection with the investigation. They have been released on police bail until September 20.

Detectives still need more information about the men responsible and have also issued a photograph of the Mercedes box van in the hope that it may jog the memories of people in the area.

Ms Robinson added: "I would also be interested to hear from anyone who was in the area of Wood Avenue, the social club known locally as the Fondue Club or the Bowls Club and the recreational area in front of those buildings at the end of the cul-de-sac of Wood Avenue. They may have seen something of assistance to us, a car or other small clue to help us identify these two men."

Witnesses should call detectives on 01279 621802 or email scdappeals@essex.police.pnn.police.uk

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