Man charged after school attack

Published Monday, 24 September 2012
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A 23-year-old man has been charged with criminal damage, after vandals caused £30,000 of damage at a special school in Downpatrick.

Man charged after school attack
The damage caused at Knockevin Special School. (© Pacemaker)

Buses, classrooms and medical facilities at Knockevin Special near Racecourse Hill were destroyed after it was broken into on Saturday night.

One young pupil asked why anyone would want to carry out such an attack.

"It's not fair what they have done to this school," Scott Martin said. "My friends all felt sad and angry and very disappointed.

"It's very terrible but I am glad it is being repaired again."

Eighty-nine pupils have been directly affected by what has been described as a "mindless" and "savage" attack on the school buildings.

The door of a classroom was kicked down and toys and books were trashed by vandals who also targeted the crucial medical and physiotherapy rooms.

Six school buses were also badly damaged, radios and steering columns were ripped out.

Principal Ann Cooper said: "When I arrived at the premises the first thing I saw was one of the busses damaged, glass panels smashed, and thought it was just one bus - then we looked around and saw six in total smashed.

"The window had been broken in the medical room and we realised that was probably the point of entry. A lot of damage was done in the room, just to see that was awful.

"We have children aged three to 19, some with complex medical needs and this room is used every day by a core number of pupils who, without it, may not be able to attend."

The school playground was strewn with glass but with the help of the Education Board, special buses were found and every child was collected as normal on Monday morning.

The MP for the area wants a bus compound to be built and CCTV cameras installed.

Margaret Ritchie said: "I want it secured by the Education Board. The message from this community is we do not want to see this sort of violent attack."

The man is also facing charges including burglary and theft and is due to appear at Newtownards Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
oliver curran in downpatrick wrote (860 days ago):
i wonder if these so called men are happy with themselves today after what they have done to these children or maybe they dont care ,when they go up in front of the courts they will only get a slap on the wrist ,its about time the law protected the victims hit these scum where it hurts ,in thier pockets and remove their benefits and send them to jail they should be made to face these children and see the hurt they have caused
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