Belfast Telegraph

Hand yourselves in, mother tells boys who set her son on fire with petrol bomb

BY DONNA DEENEY

The hunt is on for two boys who threw a petrol bomb which hit an 11-year-old sitting on a park bench.

Kevin Grint will be scarred for life after the petrol bomb impacted on his back, melting his Liverpool football jersey and leaving severe burns on his back.

He was hit on Thursday evening in the Bishop's Field park near his home in Iniscarn Crescent in Londonderry.

His distraught mother Donna said her son is convinced he recognised his assailants but just doesn't know their names and she has appealed to them to "do the decent thing" and give themselves in to the police.

Donna Grint said: "I would like the ones who did this to Kevin to take a look at the burns left on his back.

"I was physically sick when I saw what they did to him.

"If they have a shred of decency they should admit what they have done and if their parents know or even think their child did this, then they need to do the decent thing too.

"The sounds of my son screaming will stay with me until the day I die. It was like something out of a horror film, the sight of him in his Liverpool football shirt melted on him.

"Kevin had spent the day at a summer scheme in Redcastle and came home telling me 'mammy that was the bestest day of my life'. Little did either of us know that less than an hour later he would be rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

"When it happened Kevin was hysterical, but now he has told us he knows the two boys, he just doesn't know their names.

"He also told us that there were two women who walked the other way when he was on fire and screaming and left it to his two wee friends to put out the flames. I hope they are proud of their actions."

Chief Inspector Jon Burrows, who is leading the investigation, said at this initial stage they are looking for two youths aged between 11 and 14.

He said: "We are looking at CCTV and have collected other evidence and this early on we are concentrating on two young people, but I am appealing to the Creggan community to tell us the names of these boys.

"We need to get justice for the victim, but also I think we need to find them before they land themselves in even more bother.

"I don't know what it says about society that petrol bombs have become a normal part of growing up, so we need to intervene before this horrific incident is repeated.

"This is the second time in three months that we have had someone set on fire with a petrol bomb.

"In May the Waterside community was shocked at the dreadful injuries inflicted on Thomas Curry and while thankfully in this instance the victim's injuries were not quite that bad, nonetheless they were horrific and we could have been looking at a fatality if the boy had been hit from the front.

"I need these two boys to hand themselves in. Come forward and tell us it was you, before we knock at your door."

QUOTES

Former Derry Mayor Kevin Campbell said those who attacked the boy had caused "an awful lot of hurt and harm in this community". "It is absolutely scandalous," he said. "Where do we go from here? Are we going to have to put people walking about that park to protect that park?"

Mr Campbell added: "You are never expecting a child of 11 years of age to get hit by a petrol bomb."

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