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Knife controls must be stricter, says boxing star who was slashed

By Aaron Tinney

One of Northern Ireland’s hottest boxing prospects, who almost died when he was slashed in the face, has appealed for tighter controls on knife sales in the wake of the London Bridge terror carnage and a weekend stabbing in Belfast.

Caoimhin Hynes had to get almost 30 stitches in his face and neck and is seeing a plastic surgeon after he was knifed last month while queueing for a burger in Belfast city centre, leaving him with a gaping five-inch facial wound.

Despite his boxing skills and bulky frame, the 20-year-old from west Belfast admitted the London Bridge knife massacre and the slaying of a man in his 30s on Sunday in Belfast have left him scared to leave the house.

Caoimhin told the Belfast Telegraph: “It’s crazy that in this day and age you can’t seem to go out without people launching terror attacks and attacking people with knives.

“The London Bridge attack was horrific, and I heard about the guy who was stabbed to death at the weekend. It’s just mad. There’s a lot of people not right in the head who seem able to just go out and easily buy knives, either in shops or online.

“These people are just lowlifes and mad cowards. I don’t understand how they can go out and do things like the London Bridge attack. There needs to be far greater controls on knife sales, especially online, where people can buy them without any background checks.”

Three jihadists carried out a rampage on revellers along London Bridge on Saturday night, wearing fake suicide bomb vests and armed with hunting knives.

Seven people were killed and 48 injured, 18 critically, before the trio were gunned down by firearms officers.

Almost exactly 24 hours later, Belfast residents were left sickened when Hazem Ahmed Ghrier was killed in the Downshire Place area of Belfast city centre after being stabbed.

Caoimhin said: “It’s horrible. I wouldn’t say my incident has left me depressed, but it has left me stressed.

“I can’t train and I stay in a lot more than I used to. I really do think twice about going out on the streets now without someone with me. I have been looking over my shoulder since I was attacked.”

Police yesterday denied the murder of Hazem Ghrier was racially motivated.

But Caoimhin said he had been subjected to racial abuse in Belfast, saying: “Some of it ended in fights, just from people looking for fights and whatever. It’s sad.”

Caoimhin, who hopes to compete at next year’s Commonwealth Games, was out with his girlfriend in the early hours of Monday, May 1, at the 24-hour McDonald’s in Donegall Place, Belfast, with his girlfriend when a drink was lobbed.

It hit him on the back and when he turned around and told people behind him to “catch themselves on”, he was assaulted by several men and sliced in the face.

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