Boy (14) tells of sectarian gang attack that left him suffering fractured skull
A north Belfast teenager has told of how he came under attack by a gang with bats and hammers while walking home on Saturday evening.
Robert Holmes (14) was left in hospital with a fractured skull after being beaten by a mob in a terrifying sectarian assault.
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 yesterday.
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 Lesia said she was concerned the attack would have long-term effects on her son.
"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 people to help the PSNI find the attackers.
He visited Robert at home yesterday before meeting with PSNI Chief Inspector Kelly Moore at Tennent Street Police Station, along with Pastor Brian Madden and councillors 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.
"There is deep anger that such a serious attack on an individual by a cowardly crowd could occur."