herald

Sunday 19 January 2020

Parents of acid attack victims to fight ruling not to charge suspects

Teenager Tega Agberhiere suffered horrific injuries to his face and eyes
Teenager Tega Agberhiere suffered horrific injuries to his face and eyes
Some of the horrific injuries inflicted on the three victims of the acid attack
Some of the horrific injuries inflicted on the three victims of the acid attack
Taoiseach said culprits ‘would face full rigours of the law’
Some of the horrific injuries inflicted on the three victims of the acid attack
Tega Agberhiere with his mum, Christie

The outraged parents of three teenagers horrifically burned in a barbaric acid attack have vowed to fight the decision not to prosecute two of their alleged attackers.

Despite a promise from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that those responsible "would face the full rigours of the law" the DPP has decided the two suspects will receive juvenile cautions.

Last April, Tega Agberhiere (17), Padraig Sullivan (19) and Oisin Dal (19) were brutally attacked by a gang in the Earlscourt housing estate, on Dunmore Road in Waterford.

Four teenagers were arrested. Tega, a youth player for Waterford FC, suffered life-changing injuries to his face and body.

The teenager's eyesight was also severely damaged in the incident, described by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan as "totally unacceptable in any civilised society".

Padraig and Oisin have also been left scarred for life. Yesterday, their parents spoke of their horror at the DPP's decision.

Speaking to Joe Duffy on RTE Radio One's Liveline, Martin Killilea, father of Oisin, said he was assured by comments made by Charlie Flanagan and the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that his son would get justice.

"Eight months later, I get a phone call from a local garda saying no prosecution... this is why I'm going public, this is madness. (Oisin) has got really bad scarring over his back.

"It was sheer luck it wasn't his face. This stuff burnt through the jacket and T-shirt he was wearing," Mr Killilea added.

"We're talking about someone who purposely got hold of a bottle of acid and threw it in someone's face. Three people have been scarred for life, physically and emotionally.

"The Taoiseach and the Justice Minister were very quick to comment when it happened," he added. "Charlie Flanagan rang Oisin personally to tell him justice will be served quickly. But there's no word from him now - it's just madness.

"I'm not going to give up, if I've to go fight for them, I'll fight for them... it's not over for me anyway, definitely not."

Shirley Sullivan, mother of talented hurler Padraig, who suffered burns on his legs, thighs and feet, described her son spending 24 hours in the shower after the attack. "He had three skin grafts. It's been a hard year for Padraig and the boys," Ms Sullivan said.

"I'm worried that this sends out the wrong signal to children, do this and this will happen - it's not right."

Christie Agberhiere, Tega's mother, said her entire family's life has changed forever.

Destroyed

"His life has been destroyed, this is for a lifetime, for him and for me, and the rest of the family. My heart is broken. I am highly, highly disappointed and I am angry. It's unbelievable.

"For what they did, and what I went through, what my family went through, what we are still going through, what my young man went through - in between hospital and hospital.

"They can't close the shutter with this, no. It's not good for the young man.

"I will fight, the whole of my family will fight it," she added.

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