Mum's anger as girl (10) set upon by group of Carrick schoolboy yobs
A girl aged 10 has been left traumatised after being set upon by a group of older schoolboys who punched her in the stomach and attempted to drag her away, her mother has said.
Carrickfergus woman Sharon Bowman said that her daughter is "emotionally scarred" after the early-morning incident last Thursday.
"I had only recently started letting my daughter go out on her own and she went to the shop, which is a minute away, to get some change for her after-school dance club," the Castlemara estate resident explained.
"She doesn't like going when there are a lot of schoolkids as a big crowd is very intimidating, but I thought there wouldn't be anyone around at that time.
"She was coming out of the shop and walked up the steps to cross the road when five or six boys from Carrickfergus College surrounded her. They told her to f*** off, and two of them punched her in the stomach and one grabbed her wrist and attempted to drag her round the back of the shop to a parking area, which is out of sight.
"Thank God she was able to get away and run home, I dread to think what could have happened to her."
Sharon said that her terrified daughter, a pupil at Carrickfergus Central Primary, did not immediately tell her what had happened for fear of upsetting her, but broke down when she got to school.
"When I found out I was horrified, my topmost fear was that they were going to sexually assault her or beat her to a pulp," she said.
"It's horrifying that a young girl can be set upon by so many older boys, I have no words to explain why anyone would want to do that. My daughter said she had never seen these boys before, which makes me think they weren't from the Castlemara estate itself.
"She told the principal of her school, and after I found out we went to the shop to check the CCTV cameras, and also to Carrickfergus College.
"The police came to take my daughter's statement and went to the college to speak to the vice principal, but I don't think they have identified who was involved yet." Sharon said the incident has deeply affected her child.
"My daughter doesn't want to go out on her own and I think it will take her a while to regain her confidence, especially if she sees a group of people," she said.
"She wasn't left with bruising but she has been emotionally scarred by this and I think that the emotional stress will be the worst element."
Despite the incident, Sharon says her family won't be intimidated out their home.
"I'm not considering moving unless it gets too much for my daughter, my kids have been born and raised in this house and this is their home," she continued.
"My other daughter is eight and I have been left afraid for her safety too."
No one from Carrickfergus College was available to speak to the Belfast Telegraph at the time of going to press.
The PSNI said that enquiries into the incident were "currently ongoing".
It stated: "The female victim did not receive any injuries as a result of the incident. However, she was left badly shaken."