Family trip turns ugly as boy hit on head with beer can
A family day-trip to the seaside turned into a nightmare for one couple after their four-year-old son was struck on the head with a beer can.
Lauramay Maguire and fiance Marty Reid, from Portstewart, were in Portrush with son Taylor, his two uncles and 18-month-old cousin when they got caught up in Twelfth day disorder in the town.
The group had been at the beach and Barry’s amusements, enjoying the bank holiday weather before leaving for home.
But as they were making their way back to their car a member of the public stopped them outside the Eglinton Hotel to warn them of danger further up the street.
Miss Maguire said: “I’m heavily pregnant and using crutches but we slowed down even more. Taylor was in his daddy’s arms. The next thing I heard my son screaming, so I turned to see him distressed and crying. A full can of beer was spinning on the ground by our feet spraying everywhere,” the young mother said.
The frightened four-year-old was hit on the side of his head by a can thrown by a youth his mother believes was targeting police.
“The police response was brilliant. They radioed for an ambulance and starting taking statements. They moved us to wait for medical assistance and assured us they would do their best to find the person responsible.” Little Taylor is bruised where the can hit his cheek and ear. “Staff at Coleraine hospital said we were lucky. A couple of inches either way and I dread to think. My 18-month-old niece was with us. I don’t even want to think about what would’ve happened if she had been hit.
“Taylor was absolutely terrified. He was in his daddy’s arms and with uncles Conor and Daniel, so to him he couldn’t have been in a safer environment. He asked me: ‘Why did the man throw the can at me?’ He said we should have thrown it back. I explained right and wrong to Taylor and told him if we had thrown it back that would make us just as bad.”
A furious Miss Maguire added: “To do this, then run and hide, is so cowardly. We are good people, not troublemakers, so if he apologised at the time things may have been different. I am worried someone could do this to a child and particularly angry so many people helped him hide.
“This has been such a horrible experience. I hope nothing like this happens to us again. These ignorant and uneducated people need to realise there is no big cause. Nobody knows what they are fighting for.” The PSNI said a 17-year-old male was arrested and released pending further inquiries. Portrush resident and mayor of Coleraine Norman Hillis said: “I’m sure this incident has been traumatic for both the child and his parents. It is unacceptable this could happen to any family out for a day of relaxation in Portrush and I condemn it completely.”