Belfast Telegraph

Boy’s trauma after attack on bus left him unconscious

By Patrice Dougan and Louise Small

A Belfast schoolboy is recovering in his home after a “sick” attack left him in need of hospital treatment.

Samuel Goddard (13) was on his way home from school in north Belfast on Tuesday afternoon when a gang of youths launched a stone, brick and paint attack on the bus he was travelling in. A brick smashed through a window, hitting the Boys’ Model pupil on the back of the neck and knocking him unconscious.

The packed bus, which was travelling down the Oldpark Road towards the Shankill, was covered with broken glass as almost all the windows were smashed.

After passengers alerted the driver to Samuel’s condition,he drove straight to the Mater |Hospital and brought him to |casualty.

“They said he had damaged muscles in his neck,” his worried mum Julie said.

She said Samuel had a sleepless night because of the pain and stiffness.

The keen footballer has bruising and cuts to his neck and a few scratches on his face from the broken glass which shattered over him when the brick smashed through the window.

“It’s sore when I move it, but the tablets are helping,” he said.

The shocking incident has scared the family, who know the outcome could have been very different.

“He’s lucky. If it had hit him on the front of his head it could have been a lot worse,” his mother said.

The year nine pupil has vowed not to take that route home again.

“He said he would never go on that bus again and I wouldn’t let him anyway,” his mother said.

Describing the moment she found out her son was in hospital, the mother-of-three said: “I was in complete shock, I didn’t know what I was going up to hospital to find. I was relieved there was no blood.”

She said her son was covered in glass: “It was all down him, in his shirt and pockets and in his hair. I’m surprised he hasn’t got more scratches and scrapes on him.”

It’s not the first time the bus has been attacked — just the day before Samuel was injured when the bus had come under fire from stone-throwing youths.

A meeting between police, community representatives and concerned families is to take place this morning. Independent unionist Frank McCoubrey branded those who carried out the attack as “sick in the head”, and said there was a clear sectarian motive.

“It’s terrible in this time and age where we all think we are moving forward that we have a situation where parents are now refusing to let their children travel on a school bus because there is a threat basically to their lives,” he said.

“Anyone who attacks children coming from school must be sick in the head.”

Both Translink and bus drivers’ union Unite condemned the attack.

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