The mother of a north Belfast teenager who was beaten in a sectarian attack which left him with a serious head injury has described how she has been let down by the PSNI investigation.
Clare Hughes was left feeling angry at the lack of a genuine investigation into the attack, which happened almost a year ago.
Her son Flynn Maguire, a 15-year-old student at St Malachy’s College, was beaten by up to 15 youths who kicked and punched him as he cycled through a flashpoint area last May.
Ms Hughes said 10 months on, she has heard nothing from the PSNI who have confirmed they are treating the incident has a hate crime.
The mother-of-four, who lives in the North Circular Road area, said she felt so let down that she took the matter into her own hands, visiting the scene and making CCTV enquiries with businesses in the area.
Her son was set upon by loyalists on May 10 last year as he cycled along the Limestone Road at around 8.30pm.
A crowd of youths, also on bikes, shouted at him, asking him what school he attended before chasing and assaulting him, including throwing him against railways causing a huge gash to his head.
The teenager managed to get to his feet and run from the scene, making it to a friend’s house where he collapsed. He was taken to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children where he was treated for his injuries.
Ms Hughes, who said the PSNI did not attend the scene in the immediate aftermath of the incident, despite being told the gang was still in the area, said it was three days before her son’s statement was taken.
Over the following weeks and months she said she has received no updates in the investigation and was instead told “someone would get back to me”.
Over the summer she was told to not contact the PSNI again. She again contacted the Police Ombudsman this week, only to discover her complaint about the PSNI had never been put on their system.
An investigation into the attack could shed light on the death of another pupil at St Malachy’s College, 14-year-old Noah Donohoe, just weeks after Flynn was attacked. Noah disappeared in June last year after he went cycling, also in north Belfast. His naked body was found six days later, deep inside a storm drain, with evidence of having suffered a blow to the head.
Ms Hughes strongly supports the justice campaign for Noah Donohoe, but is also seeking answers for herself. She said: “I am so infuriated by all of this. I want answers. My son deserves answers. He could have been killed. I feel let down.”