Belfast Telegraph

Father forced to watch as son battered by hammer-wielding gang

By Brendan McDaid

A father has described how he was forced to watch his 15-year-old son being beaten by a hammer-wielding gang in Londonderry.

The man said he was threatened with what he believes was a gun as he tried to come to the aid of his son.

The masked gang of four set upon the boy in a laneway in the Mimosa Court area of the Top Of The Hill estate in the Waterside.

CID in Derry have issued an appeal for information following the assault, which was carried out on Saturday at 10.45pm.

The boy was being treated in Altnagelvin Hospital yesterday for a suspected broken nose and a string of other injuries.

His father said the men had pounced on his son and started raining down blows with bats and hammers.

“I heard him shouting and looked around there were three to four boys beating into him with masks on. He was roaring and shouting ‘help me, help me’,” the father said.

“These were grown men. I saw it all happening.

“I ran towards them and someone pointed something at me and said ‘stay where you are or you’re going to get it’. I believed it was a revolver. There’s no way I am going to go up against a bullet.”

The man said when he asked his son’s attackers why they were hitting him he was told it was in connection with anti-social behaviour.

He said, however, that his son told him he had no idea what the men were referring to.

“I don’t like the idea of 15-year-olds getting battered like that,” he said.

The man said his son has been left traumatised.

The attack is the latest in a spike in vigilante-type assaults and shootings across the north west over the past year.

Fr Michael Canny from St Columb’s Church in the Top Of The Hill area said there was no place in society for such attacks.

Fr Canny said: “These are organised gangs and groups of individuals who have got together and fashioned themselves into organisations, and whether they claim to tackle anti-social behaviour, drugs, vandalism, misuse of alcohol, they need to understand they have no place in our society. We cannot resolve our problems with physical force.

“The people who engage in this type of activity do not appear to have any standards over whether someone is 40, 30, 20 or 15. What’s next, a 10-year-old?”

A PSNI spokesman said: “The men were armed with a suspected firearm and hammers. It is believed the men made off via a lane to the rear of Mimosa Court.

“Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact CID in Strand Road Police Station on 0845 600 8000. Or if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Belfast Telegraph


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