Teen 'lucky to be alive' after attack

Published Monday, 13 May 2013
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A mother has told UTV her 18-year-old daughter is lucky to be alive, after she was attacked by a gang at a loyalist club in south Belfast.

The Catholic teenager was in the bar with Protestant friends on Saturday 4 May when others made comments about her religion.

Minutes later, the young victim was being punched and kicked.

Her mum explained: "As my daughter was being attacked, her friend tried to help. She was subsequently attacked then for trying to help my daughter."

As the three women left the bar they were assaulted again, but made it to their nearby flat - followed by an armed gang. Police called to the scene brought the women to safety, but the mother still believes her daughter is "very lucky to be alive".

I'm lucky that I'm able to sit here and to tell the story that my daughter's alive - but, at the same token too, she very easily could be dead.

Victim's mum

She said: "I'm lucky my daughter's not lying under my window in a brown box, and that also applies to the other girl that was in the bar. Because, as far as they're concerned, she brought [my daughter] into that area."

On hearing of the attack, the woman said she "panicked ... imagined the worst" and described the following days as a "living nightmare".

She said: "If they had got into that flat ... Why would you go to somebody's flat with weapons?

"If those police hadn't have come in time, my daughter most definitely would be dead."

The teenage victim has woken up crying, and has been hurt physically and mentally by the attack.

It was a very disturbing attack and I think, for a lot of people, reminiscent of the brutal attacks of the Troubles that I think most of us thought we were well past now.

Claire Hanna, SDLP

SDLP councillor Claire Hanna has called for arrests to be made.

She added: "This sort of attack is a very angry manifestation of sectarianism and terroritoriality that we need to move on from. The young women involved in this are from a post-Troubles generation - by all accounts, people who were actively integrating and, like most people, just wanting to get on with their neighbours.

"We can't have that generation growing up knowing the sectarian geography of the city."

In a statement, the First Belfast Glasgow Rangers Supporters Club claimed that this was a domestic-related altercation.

The club states that at no time were iron bars used or sectarian abuse, adding that the club does not tolerate sectarianism or violence in any shape or form.

Loyalist sources have denied that the attack was carried out by members of the UVF.

Police confirmed one line of inquiry is that the assault was a sectarian hate crime.

© UTV News
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44 Comments
jackie in belfast wrote (335 days ago):
Terrible story just glad the girl is ok.Anyone who goes into these drinking dens are taking their lives into their hands,it doesn`t matter what religion you are,if you are unknown to the local knuckle draggers then you are a prime target.So anyone reading this don`t go into these dangerous places were you are a stranger even if you are with friends.
Geoff in Belfast wrote (335 days ago):
This reminds me of that awful tragedy during the troubles in that UFF bar off Sandy Row (which was demolished soon after by the Council). That involved a young Catholic woman too. Terrible terrible thing. I hope the wee girls recover. I thought these things were in the past. Hopefully they wise up and don't go to those places again. The one bright thing about the story was they were a mixed religious bunch of girls. That is a good sign of the future. Well done.
john in belfast wrote (336 days ago):
These scumbags don't have the intelligence to move on. Someone would have to spell it for them then take them by the hand.
Realist in Ireland wrote (336 days ago):
Realist in England, you are a moron. What a useless analogy. Meat to lions? Eating is a need. These cowardly scum attacked an 18yr girl. Maybe she was undermining their loyalist traditions etc etc by being in their club.
Michael in Belfast wrote (336 days ago):
Sectarian attacks like these happen all the time but are rarely reported unless theres is serious injury or death involved so fair play to UTV for reporting it. Was it only last year when there was filming in the Village a young man was viciously beaten, refused help and thrown in a wheelie bin?? What about the 15yr old beaten to death on a Sat afternoon in the middle of Ballymena?? Sectarianism is alive and well but the silver lining in the cloud is that these young people ARE coming together regardless of their religion/backgrounds.
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