A 14 year-old girl who was savagely beaten by a gang in front of shocked city centre shoppers has spoken of her ordeal.
Micaela McGillian was set upon by a gang of girls and boys in an unprovoked attack in which she suffered a suspected broken nose. She was also relentlessly punched and kicked about the head and back while trying desperately to protect herself as shocked weekend shoppers looked on in broad daylight.
The teenager was shopping with friends at Waterloo Place at around 5pm last Saturday when a gang of up to eight young people unknown to her started shouting abuse. “We went into a shop and when we came out they were still yelling abuse at us,” she said.
“The four of us were going to Quayside so we started walking that way - one of the girls then pulled off my hat which I bought earlier in the day. I picked up the hat and walked over to her and questioned her about why she did it, and she just went for me. She pulled me around by my hair and I knew she was going to hit me, the only thing I could think of doing was to go to ground. I got down on my knees and put my hands over my face to try and save myself. All I remember is getting kicked and punched on the back and ribs.
“My friends started shouting at them to get off and were pulling them off me. I looked up and thought it would be a good time to try to get up so I put my hands down to lift myself and all I remember is a big gush in my face like someone had kicked me. I fell to the ground again after that.”
Micaela was helped by her friends to Quayside Shopping Centre where she tried to clean herself up in a toilet. But to her horror the attackers followed her and she was helped to safety by her friends. She was taken to the Richmond Centre at Shipquay Street where she then collapsed in a toilet before being aided by security staff. The startled teenager was taken to hospital where she was treated for her injuries.
Micaela’s father, John, appealed to anyone with information on the attack on his daughter to contact the police. “We’ve been told the names of those believed to have been involved and they have been given to police who are investigating CCTV footage. It was my daughter last week and she’s here to tell the tale, it could be someone else next week and they may not be so lucky. People need to be safe on our streets,” he said.
Police described the female attacker who pulled Micaela to the ground as having long straight red hair and wearing black tights.
Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan described the attack as sickening “Obviously we hope this girl makes a speedy recovery not just from her physical injuries, as this would have surely been traumatic for her. “It is really alarming to think this could happen in the city at all, let alone at 5pm on a Saturday in broad daylight along a main thoroughfare and one of Derry’s busiest roads. I would appeal to anyone with information to contact the police before these people strike again. Whenever there is a violent attack, the consequences can be fatal,” he said.