A TRADER who spent 18 months battling to bring his Nigerian wife to Hyndburn is selling his shop after the couple were viciously attacked by racist thugs.
Robin and Justina Howarth were beaten up by four teenagers at their Elmfield Street off-licence in Church.
The devastated duo suffered countless cuts and bruises in the attack, which took place at around 11.30am on Saturday.
The gang turned on Justina, 39, who was alone in the shop at the time, after she questioned their ages when they tried to buy cigarettes.
Robin, 57, told the Observer: "Justy simply asked them to confirm their ages. The reply she got was, 'What's it got to do with you?' followed by a torrent of racist and foul-mouthed abuse."
As the youths tried to leave the shop one of them snatched a bottle of red wine. Tiny Justina, who is barely five feet tall, blocked their path and shouted for help.
Robin went on: "I was up-stairs sleeping, but I rushed down as soon as I heard her call out. They were punching Justy and pushing her around and, next thing I knew, I'd been hit very hard next to my left eye. I fell down and they started kicking me in the back."
The thugs dragged Justina outside into the street. They hurled abuse at her and repeatedly kicked her until Robin ran outside and chased them off.
He said: "We are both very shaken and upset by all this. Justy is scared to go anywhere alone now. She's terrified they'll come after her again."
Robin and Justina married on Valentine's Day 2000, but the British High Commission in Nigeria claimed their marriage was a sham.
Immigration bosses refused to let Justina into Britain, but Robin fought tooth and nail against the decision.
He spent over £15,000 on continual visits, letters and calls and, eventually, she was granted a visa and the couple were reunited in July 2001.
Robin said that while most of his regulars welcomed Justina into the shop, she had been subjected to a lot of abuse and takings had plummeted.
He concluded: "This is the final straw. We didn't go through everything we did to live in fear. We've decided to sell up and move on as soon as we can."
Robin and Justina described their attackers as white, in their teens with shaved heads. They were all stripped to the waist at the time, wearing tracksuit bottoms and trainers.
Police are investigating the incident. Anyone with any information should call 01254 382141.