A BLUE-haired autistic man has been left traumatised after being strangled by an enraged assailant who mistook him for another blue-haired man.
Dallas Boyd, 19, of Masterton was walking towards the entrance of The Warehouse last Friday just after 10am with friends when a "young man with ginger hair and a leather jacket" jumped out of his car and knocked him to the ground, strangling him "enough to stop him breathing for a bit", while accusing him of stealing.
Dallas' flatmate Jordyn Sayer "stood in shock" as the attack took place.
"The guy in the car halted about 10m in front of us, ran out of his car and just started attacking him," she said.
Dallas' mother Sonia said the "unprovoked attack" was a case of mistaken identity after she received a call from police two nights ago confirming another blue-haired boy had been "really badly beaten up" by a man of the same description, also accusing him of stealing.
"There's been another attack and the boy that was attacked looks exactly like Dallas," she said. "Like if I saw him in the street I would have thought he was Dal -- the same hair colour, the same hair length, it's really freaky."
Mrs Boyd said the attack was a major setback for her son who has now lost confidence to go out in public by himself.
"With autism, everyone is different, but for Dallas it's taken 10 years to get him to the point where he can go into town by himself," Mrs Boyd said. "Now he's very nervous about it you know, scared that it will happen again. I mean I can see him shaking now.
"Dallas was really upset, confused, and in shock because he didn't know what was going on, and he's now frightened to come into town by himself. It's hard."
She said the whereabouts of the attacker was still unknown and asked anyone with information to contact police.
"It's really important that people don't react angrily about it, but if they have information they should go to police about it. That's all I want," she said.
"I want this person to know what affect he has had on Dal, and to be accountable for it."