A Shirley pub is reopening two years after it closed following the violent assault of an asylum seeker at a nearby bus stop.

The Goat, on the Shrublands Estate, closed in April 2017 the day after Reker Ahmed, 17, was beaten and kicked by a group of up to 30 people on nearby Broom Road, leaving him with a fractured skull and blood clot on the brain.

A number of young men from the area have since been found guilty for their part in the attack on the Iranian student. 

Pub chain Whelans, which runs the nearby Bedford Tavern in East Croydon, will take over when the pub reopens in October as The Apple Tree.

Austin Whelan said of the reopening: “The area has changed in the last few years and The Apple Tree is changing with it.

"The community is crying out for a great neighbourhood pub and I intend to deliver that.

"I feel a real affinity for the Croydon, Shirley and Beckenham. It’s felt like a home from home which is why I plan to move to the area.

“The Apple Tree is going to be very well run as my right-hand man, Sean, is going to manage it and is moving in with his family.”

Building work started this week on a complete internal and external renovation which will see the building transformed into a "top-quality neighbourhood pub offering food, barista style coffee and teas for the first time and hosting live music and sports" following a £500,000 investment.

Currently a shell, a new floor, ceiling and bar with bi-fold windows are being installed.

The pub will seat 100 and have a designated dining area with a raised floor for live music performances, and nine high definition TVs will provide coverage of live sports.

Dugald Macer, Regional Operations Director for Star Pubs & Bars said: “Austin and his team have high standards and a real understanding of what makes a pub the hub of the community.

"There is no other pub within half a mile of The Apple Tree, which means residents will have on their doorstep what they had to travel for previously.

“Our investment is part of £50m being spent by Heineken on great British pubs this year.

"Pubs like The Apple Tree need this type of investment to flourish in the long-term and great operators, like Whelans to take them to the next level.”