The mother of a teenager who was subjected to a vicious attack in which his head was bashed against a wall has said the incident has left her family traumatised.
Thomas Parker (15) had been returning from his weekly educational course he attends at Ulster University's Jordanstown campus when he was assaulted on Monday evening.
The unprovoked attack left the student with facial injuries which required surgery.
The talented St James Swifts FC player was set upon by an individual near the entrance of the Ballymurphy estate off the Whiterock Road in west Belfast.
Thomas had been waiting for his father Joseph (35) to collect him after getting off a bus on his return from Jordanstown when the incident happened at around 8.20pm.
His mother Ceira (35) said what has happened to her "gentleman" son has left her and the rest of the family traumatised.
She told the Belfast Telegraph yesterday that Thomas had been targeted as he stood on a pavement.
"He said he was waiting by a wall when a silver car drove down the road and then stopped as it was waiting to turn. A guy in the passenger seat was staring at my boy," she explained.
"When the car turned the corner he shouted at my son and then got out and attacked him.
"He punched my child repeatedly, then bashed his head off a wall twice.
"It is just an awful, horrific situation. Thomas is just such a well mannered, polite and shy boy.
"When he and his father came back Thomas's face was all cut up and completely covered in blood."
The mother continued: "He had two black eyes, a lump to the back of the head and a broken nose. We have found out he actually has to go for surgery now to get his nose repaired.
"My seven-year-old daughter Keiley is so upset. When she saw her brother coming in she was terrified and she was up three times last night and is constantly checking that Thomas is okay."
Ceira explained this was the first time anything such as this had happened, with the family living in a quiet area.
"Thomas hasn't eaten or gone to school. He is so scared that he will see the person responsible while he is outside," added Ceira.
"It will be a hard struggle for him to go back to normal life; back to the course, back to football and back to school. Personality wise he is a very shy boy.
"I'm only just off the phone to the doctor about his surgery. My body is in trembles, I am horrified that this kind of thing can still happen in this society."
She revealed that local people have rallied behind her family since news of the attack emerged.
"The community response has been amazing and so supportive. All the neighbours have rallied around us and are giving Thomas little gift bags and other things, along with the support we have received online," she said.
"I just don't know how you can help these people who are responsible for this. They need to remember that one punch can kill and they need to stop. I'm afraid for Thomas to be outside now."
In a statement released yesterday the PSNI confirmed it was investigating the incident, with a 19-year-old male having been arrested on suspicion of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
A PSNI spokesman said: "He remains in police custody at this time assisting with enquiries.
"We would appeal to anyone who witnessed the incident to contact police on 101, quoting reference number 1741 09/03/20."
Alternatively, information can also be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.