Belfast Telegraph

14-year-old victim tells of 'depraved' sectarian attack with bats

A Belfast teenager has told of how he came under attack by a gang with bats and hammers while walking home on Saturday evening.

14-year-old Robert Holmes was left in hospital with a fractured skull after being attacked while making his way home on Saturday evening.

At around 7pm he was making his way home from a supermarket when he was approached by a group of up to 30 people in North Queen Street, with six of them attacking him with bats and hammers.

Following the attack Robert was rushed to hospital and treated for a number of injuries including a fractured skull and bruising and bleeding on the brain.

He was kept in hospital for two nights before being discharged on Monday.

Speaking on the BBC Radio Ulster's 'Evening Extra' programme Robert told of how he came under attack by the gang.

"There was a crowd from the other side came out of New Lodge and were throwing bottles and bricks and shouting come on over," he said.

"Six of them ran across the road towards us and my two mates ran. I have a sore leg so didn't run.

"They hit me across the head with a bat and I fell to the ground and they all jumped all over the top of me."

Robert's mum Lisa said she was concerned the attack would have long-term effects.

"He's only 14 and I can't believe in this day and age anybody could do this," she said.

"He's only a child himself, it's not even the physical damage, it's emotional too.

"He's already had a few panic attacks and is never going to forget this."

North Belfast DUP MLA William Humphrey has appealed for cooperation with the PSNI following the attack.

Mr Humphrey visited the home of Robert Holmes on Monday afternoon before meeting with PSNI Chief Inspector Kelly Moore at Tennent Street Police Station, along with Pastor Brian Madden and Aldermen Guy Spence and Brian Kingston.

"Young Robert Holmes was subjected to a depraved and utterly vicious sectarian assault on Saturday evening," Mr Humphrey said.

“Robert required hospital treatment for severe injuries including a fractured skull, bruising and bleeding on the brain and required stitches to head wounds. This brutal attack could have resulted in fatal injuries and it will have made a deep impact on him.  It is a relief that he has been able to come home after two nights in hospital," he said.

"I call on all elected representatives to be unequivocal in condemning this sectarian attack and to join me in calling for clear co-operation with the Police investigation to bring those responsible to justice for their depraved actions.

"There is deep anger that such a serious attack on an individual by a cowardly crowd could occur."

Mr Humphrey said the PSNI were increasing patrols in the area and urged "all people of influence" to do what they can to "prevent such trouble from occurring".

“Anyone who can help to bring those responsible to justice should contact the PSNI on 101 or can leave information anonymously on the Crimestoppers line 0800 555 111,” he said.





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