herald

Friday 30 September 2016

Two arrested over brutal attack on vulnerable man

The vulnerable man is kicked and punched by thugs who stole his phone
The vulnerable man is kicked and punched by thugs who stole his phone

Gardai investigating the horrific mugging of an autistic man have recovered a mobile phone after arresting two people on suspicion of assault.

The Herald yesterday revealed a group of thugs attacked the vulnerable man after he helped a wheelchair-bound passenger from the Dart station in Bray, Co Wicklow.

The victim, who is aged in his 20s, suffered a broken nose and two black eyes in the sickening robbery.

Detectives in Bray have arrested two people in relation to the attack, which took place at 6pm on April 4.

A 29-year-old man was detained on Wednesday, while a 19-year-old woman was arrested for questioning yesterday morning.

The arrested male - who is well-known to gardai in relation to drug-related incidents - was released without charge while a file is being sent to the DPP.

Punched

The teenage girl was questioned for a number of hours, but has since been released without charge.

A mobile phone, believed to be the victim's, was also recovered during a search in the Bray area.

Our exclusive CCTV images revealed the extent of the horrifying attack, during which the victim was punched a number of times in the face before being kicked in the head.

The disturbing images show the young man being approached by a male who forcefully put his right hand into his pockets.

The cowardly gang then gathered around the young man as he tried to flee.

A young woman attempted to prevent the male thug from attacking the victim, but he repeatedly struck him in the face with vicious blows.

He then launched a full-force kick to the victim's face while he was on his knees pleading not to be hit any more.

As the shocked victim leaned against the wall and covered his face, a female member of the gang searched his pockets and took his mobile phone.

The video also clearly shows that four members of the public walking by without helping the victim.

After concerns were raised by the victim's family regarding the layout of Bray Dart Station, an Irish Rail spokesperson said a review will be conducted towards "the possibility of altering the layout".

"We are shocked at this horrific attack, and have been working closely with the gardai to assist them in their investigations. We have also liaised with the victim's family.

"Thankfully, this area does not have a record of incidents of this kind or anti-social behaviour.

"It is an exit off the southbound platform that was only open at limited times previously. Following requests locally we put in ticketing and entrance facilities there four years ago to allow easier access from that area of the town," a spokesman for Irish Rail said.

Security

"One of the walls is onto the platform, and one is a boundary wall shared with another property. We will review the possibility of altering the layout with the neighbouring property.

"Bray Station is manned at all times, and CCTV can be accessed and reviewed quickly. We also have mobile security teams operating in the evening, and we will deploy resources as necessary to address any issues as they arise."

The young man's father told the Herald that his son had been left severely shaken by the unprovoked incident.

"He's autistic, a timid lad and would be nervous," said the man, who wished to remain anonymous to protect his son's identity.

"He's kind of always been a bit bullied and had a tough time when he was growing-up.

"He was always brought up to do the right thing - when travelling, move up to the front of the train.

"He and the other man were trying to help the man in the wheelchair on the platform by getting attention from some staff," he said.

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