Gang cheers as elderly couple attacked outside own home

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An attack on an elderly couple in Derry has been widely condemned.

The attack happened on the Racecourse Road last night (June 20) as a number of residents were verbally and physically assaulted by a gang of youths.

It is understood Jack and Margaret Doherty were attacked outside their home.

Mr Doherty (64) is being treated in hospital for a number of injuries including three cracked ribs. His wife is recovering at home.

Eyewitnesses say the youths cheered as the couple were being attacked.

Sinn Fein councillor Tony Hassan described the incident as “shocking and frightening.”

“This was a very shocking and frightening incident for the couple who were attacked. I hope they make a speedy recovery.

“A large number of young people who had been involved the driving of quad and scrambler type motorbikes recklessly, gathered and verbally abused and intimidated local residents.

“There have been a number of incidents in the past few weeks of quad and scrambler type bikes being driven recklessly across green spaces, footpaths, laneways. It has caused great upset for residents and presents serious dangers for pedestrians, particularly young children and older members of our community.

“I am calling on the PSNI to put in place an action plan to insure that all those involved in these incidents are apprehended and taken before the courts.”

SDLP councillor Angela Dobbins said the local community has been “left sickened.”

“This was a sickening and appalling attack on two vulnerable pensioners. It is particularly disturbing that while this attack was in mid-flow, young people watching jeered and cheered rather than coming to their aid.

“This raises serious questions about what is happening in the lives of a very small minority of our young people that they would engage in this kind of behaviour. I would appeal to anyone who witnessed this attack to contact the police.”

She added:“My thoughts and prayers are with Mr and Mrs Doherty. I will be visiting Mr Doherty today in hospital to pass on the outpouring of best wishes and offers of support to them from the local community”.