Belfast Telegraph

Concern as hammer attack on boy (13) filmed by children

By Brett Campbell

Crowds of Co Antrim schoolchildren stood by and filmed a boy being hit in the face with a hammer, a councillor has revealed.

The victim, who is understood to be just 13 years-old, was taken to hospital and treated for facial injuries after he was attacked by a mob of older boys in the Galgorm Road area of Ballymena yesterday.

UUP councillor Stephen Nicholl condemned the attack which happened close to a bus and train station at around 3.30pm - but said the behaviour of those who witnessed it is just as disturbing.

"Quite a number of other kids Snapchatted the victim being hit with a hammer and filmed it for other social media platforms," he said.

"Any attack like this is concerning but the attitude of many of those present during this makes it worse.

"People stood back and thought their role in this was to video it in an attempt to get some sort of profile for themselves out of it."

Three boys aged 14, 15 and 16 were arrested in relation to the assault.

On Friday all three were released on police bail pending further enquiries.

The PSNI said the investigation is ongoing.

Mr Nicholl said he understands the boy's injuries were not life threatening and that he has since been released from hospital.

"This was a very serious assault and my thoughts are with the young boy," he said.

"But filming something like this sets an extremely dangerous precedent. Some attacks are actually being set up just to get attention on social media.

"There's a disconnect in our society when someone is being horrifically attacked and the first response of onlookers is to get their phones out.

"It should have been to protect a vulnerable person."

Police have appealed for anyone with information to contact them on 101 quoting reference number 755 12/04/18.

Belfast Telegraph

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