'He just did what he felt was right' - praise for boy (9) who foiled attempt to abduct teenager
A nine-year-old boy hailed a hero after he stepped in and stopped the attempted abduction of a teenager in Londonderry says he "just did what he felt was right".
Long Tower Primary School pupil Tiernan McCready was walking home on the Foyle Road through the Bogside last Wednesday night when he noticed three men grab an 18-year-old girl and attempt to get her into a van.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, the schoolboy said he was scared but couldn't have lived with himself if he had stood by and done nothing.
"I was at the youth club in the Bogside last week," he said.
"And on my way home I saw three men in a white van grabbing a girl by the arms and the legs and trying to pull her into the van.
"I was scared when I saw it but I just couldn't have stood there and done nothing so I tried to distract them so she could get away to safety.
"I shouted over at them that I had a phone and if they didn't let her go I was phoning the police. I think that frightened them a bit. They let her go and she was able to run.
"I led her to the steps and we both ran up them towards Bishop Street to get away.
"I fell on the steps and cut my finger on glass, but we ran on.
"When we got to the top of them I told her to run back to her house and I would go to my own house and tell my mummy to phone the police.
"I told her that it was very serious and that anything could have happened to her.
"I told her that her mummy could have been waking up tomorrow with no daughter. I ran home and we phoned the police and told them."
Tiernan said he is delighted that the young woman is now safe. "I am pretty happy," he said. "It's kind of mind-blowing. I am just happy that the young girl is just safe now.
"I was scared at the time that it happened, but I knew it was the right thing that I had to do. I couldn't just sit there and watch someone get kidnapped.
"It would have been heartbreaking for me to watch so I had to react."
Tiernan's Mum Ciara (30) said she is immensely proud of her "little hero".
"This just shows how big a heart he has," she said.
"This is just Tiernan, he is a gentleman, he is so kind-hearted and would do anything for anyone. I am so proud of him for doing this.
"I was a bit annoyed that he put himself in danger, but they are both safe and that is the main thing."
Grateful police officers presented Tiernan with the PSNI Badge of Honour and a box of Maltesers as a token of their appreciation and praised him on the 'PSNI Foyle' Facebook page, saying "this is what a hero looks like".
"Most adults would be paralysed in shock, confusion or fear and fail to act until it was too late. Tiernan reacted instantly," the post read.
"Let that sink in. This could have been the start of a potentially serious and harrowing crime. That girl could have been my child, my sister, your child, your family member.
"This doesn't go anywhere near to paying off the debt our community owes this boy. Our youngsters often get a bad rep but remember the vast majority are brave and big hearted just like Tiernan."
Inspector William Calderwood confirmed that police in Derry are investigating a report of a suspicious approach in the Brandywell area on Wednesday, April 3.
"At around 8.15pm a local parent reported that her son had witnessed three men in a van approach a teenage girl on Lecky Road a short time earlier. No other reports have been received to date, however we are keen to identify the girl and establish exactly what has happened. Officers would also like to speak to anyone who may have seen a white van in the area that night."