herald

Saturday 20 October 2018

Boy (12) is a suspect as gardai probe firework attack on mum-of-two

The moment a firework exploded in a jacket belonging to Michelle Kearns.
The moment a firework exploded in a jacket belonging to Michelle Kearns.

Gardai are investigating whether a 12-year-old boy was responsible for an attack in which a firework exploded in a young mum's jacket hood.

The incident occurred in Dublin's north inner city earlier this month and led to the victim suffering second-degree burns and temporary loss of hearing.

Officers from Store Street Garda Station are probing the incident and have reviewed video as well as CCTV footage from surrounding areas.

A boy (12) has been identified as a suspect in the incident.

The victim, mother-of-two Michelle Kearns (26), has also revealed how she has been threatened not to make a statement to gardai.

Michelle Kearns.
Michelle Kearns.

A source last night told the Herald that gardai believe the attack was premeditated and that they are attempting to speak to witnesses.

Ms Kearns revealed how she was speaking to a friend just before she was surrounded by a gang of youths.

"It was between 2.30pm and 3.30pm at the Port playground because me and my friend were taking her daughter to play up there," she said.

"So we went in and we were there for around 15 or 30 minutes when we went outside for a cigarette.

"That's when we were approached by a gang of youths. I'd say they were aged between 11 and 15.

"They were on bikes and they were hassling us. As I turned round I could see the smoke coming out of my hood.

"Straight away I was like 'I have to get it off' and I tried to get the jacket off but I couldn't.

"The only thing I could think of was to bend over and let it [the firework] fly out, but it didn't, it just exploded."

Ms Kearns revealed how the gang responsible for the attack warned her they would "blow her head off" if she made a complaint to gardai.

Incidents

"I was getting phone calls warning me not to make a statement," she said.

"First it was that I'd get my 'head blown off' and then it was that I'll get more than a firecracker next time and then, 'watch yourself walking down the street'."

The attack is the latest in a series of incidents linked to a gang of youths causing havoc in the area. The same group of teenagers is also suspected of being responsible for damaging several cars in the area earlier this month.

A source said: "It is always the same core of 10 or so youths involved in these incidents, and coming up to Halloween their behaviour seems to be getting worse."

Councillor Nial Ring described the attack as "utterly savage" and added that the matter had been raised with Chief Supt Sean Ward at the Community Policing Forum.

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