An autistic boy has spoken about the terrifying moment when he was slapped in the face by children's entertainer The Great Velcro.

Eight-year-old Isaac O'Riordan was victim of an attack by the magician, real name Lynn Thomas, which has led for calls for him to be banned from performing with children.

In The Argus yesterday, actress Fay Ripley, star of TV series Cold Feet, said she was appalled Mr Thomas had been allowed to appear at her nephew's nursery in Brighton four months after the attack.

Isaac, who has Asperger's syndrome, said he was slapped after he had volunteered to help The Great Velcro during a performance during the Queens Park summer fete in August.

Isaac, from Hurstpierpoint, had a broken arm in plaster at the time and made a mistake when he was supposed to throw an apple to the magician. He was told off by Mr Thomas and blew him a kiss in response.

Isaac said: "He turned his back to me and then spun round and hit me on the side of my face, on my ear.

I was really scared and shocked. It hurt a lot."

His shocked parents John and Melanie O'Riordan, who had been watching from a few feet away, jumped up to help him.

The entertainer was arrested and issued with a police caution for common assault but has continued to make appearances at schools and nurseries.

Business manager Mr O'Riordan said Isaac had been scared to volunteer to take part in events since the incident. He was taken to see a doctor the day after he was hit because he was complaining of pain in his ear.

Isaac said: "I hope I don't ever see him again. I would be really frightened."

Mr Thomas, 63, said the incident was the first in a 30-year career and said he was badly provoked. He claimed he had simply meant to clip Isaac around the ear but now realised he was wrong to do so.

Mr O'Riordan said: "He is trying to justify something that can't be justified. He was not severely provoked, he was blown a kiss by an eight-year-old. There is no excuse for reacting the way he did."

Isaac's parents said they were keeping a close eye on their son and would have stopped him if he had done anything to provoke Mr Thomas. They said the magician would have had no way of knowing their son was autistic but there was no excuse for his behaviour.

Mr O'Riordan said: "It's wrong that he thinks he can justify what he did."

Mr Thomas, from Kemp Town, has appeared alongside Paul Daniels on television and won the International Brotherhood of Magicians competition in the Eighties. In recent years he has run a magic stall in the Open Market in Brighton.