Man (73) “could have died” after city centre assault

Derry Journal - online and in print on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.
Derry Journal - online and in print on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

The son of a 73 year old man who was set upon by a group of between 10 and 12 teenagers as he made his way to bingo last night said his father could have died following the incident.

The man, who asked that we protect his identity, said his father had just left a shop on Foyle Street at around 8pm last night and was making his way to the bingo hall at Bank Place when he was set upon by a large group of teenage boys.

“He had just walked up onto the Walls beside the library to make his way to the hall when he was jumped on,” the victim’s son said. “He thinks there were between 10 and 12 young fellahs and none of them would have been older than 15.

“One of the boys grabbed him through the arms and threw him to the ground. It was only because one of the other young guys said to leave him alone, that he was an old fellah, that he managed to get away.”

The man said his father suffered an angina attack after the incident, and was subsequently admitted to hospital. He also experienced a temporary loss of sensation down one side of his body.

“He is very badly shaken by it. We all are. We know we could have lost him - the doctors said he was close to a full heart attack.

“Even today he is very upset - crying and very down.

“He’ll not be going out again to bingo - and it was the only thing he had - the only thing he went out to.”

The attack has been condemned by SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey who said: “This is a totally disgraceful act and those who were involved need to have a long hard look at themselves, assaulting a pensioner in the middle of our city.

“From the information I have, a range of age groups were involved, and I would urge parents to know where their children are during the night, and I will be asking the PSNI to increase their patrols of the Foyle Street/Bank Place area.

“Anyone who witnessed this disgraceful event or who has any information should contact the PSNI at Strand Road – we cannot allow events like this to become a regular occurrence in our city.”