Dwarf blames Mike Tindall for inspiring attack that paralysed him
Published 13/01/2012 | 07:42
A DWARF actor has accused Mike Tindall of inspiring a thug to toss him on to the ground outside a pub, leaving him partly paralysed.
Martin Henderson, who appeared in the Harry Potter films, faces having to use a wheelchair after a stranger picked him up and threw him on to the pavement during a night out.
The assault happened during last year’s Rugby World Cup, weeks after Tindall, the England centre and husband of Zara Phillips, was alleged to have attended a “dwarf tossing contest” with team-mates at a bar in New Zealand.
Mr Henderson, 37, believes his attacker, who has not been tracked down by police, may have got the idea from Tindall.
“An incident like this was just waiting to happen,” he said. “People see stars like Tindall doing it and they think that it is acceptable.
“I believe that could have been why it happened to me – the bloke probably thought it was really funny.”
Mr Henderson was celebrating his birthday with friends on October 7 when he was attacked outside the White Horse pub in Somerset.
Having landed badly, his back and legs began to feel numb and he was taken to hospital for treatment. A scan revealed tissue damage to his back and he has been unable to walk properly since.
Mr Henderson, who also suffers from spinal stenosis, has undergone a course of physiotherapy and treatment but now has to use a crutch to walk.
Doctors have told the actor that he may be wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life.
He recently broke his wrist in a fall after his legs gave way while trying to walk.
Police have appealed for help in tracing the attacker, described as around 5ft 8in, slim build with dark hair and wearing a hooded top and baseball cap. Mr Henderson, who played a goblin alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and The Prisoner of Azkaban, said he had gone outside for a cigarette when the attack happened.
He added: “He did not say a word to me when he did it. He just came from behind me and picked me up. The next thing I knew I was just going through the air. I landed with a bump on the floor, turned around, but he had disappeared.
“It all happened so quickly – I think he was with a group of mates and they thought it would be a laugh.
“I was furious. I said a lot of swear words but could not confront him as he had left.
“I guess I was an easy target and the only reason I was picked on was because I am small.”
The incident happened about a month after England players visited the Altitude Bar which hosted the Mad Midget Weekender following their first match victory against Argentina during their unsuccessful World Cup campaign.
Bar staff denied that any dwarf throwing was involved on the night, which also saw Tindall caught on camera kissing a former girlfriend.
Mr Henderson, who fears his condition will ruin his career, added: “The whole [England] team should be made to apologise for what they have done.
“I think until someone steps out and says 'this is not acceptable’, all dwarfs are under threat.”