13/09/2012

Onlookers Refuse To Help After Daylight Attack On Strabane Cleric

A Strabane cleric has told his local newspaper of the "shock and disbelief" he felt at being attacked by a group of people in broad daylight in the town, after which passers-by refused to help.

A group of young people hit the unnamed cleric - who was not wearing his collar at the time - over the head and knocked him to the ground.

The incident took place at about 11.30 on Monday morning in an alleyway between John Wesley Street and Castle Street.

The cleric, in his thirties, said he was "minding his own business" while out doing errands, and it was an "unprovoked attack".

He was "deeply frustrated" afterwards when onlookers in the street did not respond to his pleas for help or call the police, but he does not have any major injuries resulting from the attack.

The cleric told the Strabane Weekly News that he could not be sure he was attacked for his role in the clergy, but he hoped the 14-18 year-olds involved would not have done the same to a woman or child.

He said: "I know this is not a reflection on the wider Strabane community, but every time that I do go out in future, this incident will be in the back of my mind. So, it has made me a little edgy.

"My family are deeply upset by the incident but at the same time they are glad that I am okay. I have also received a lot of support from my church and congregation, which I am very grateful for."

Strabane Area Commander, Chief Inspector Andy Lemon, said the incident was "a vile, unprovoked attack" and asked for witnesses to come forward with information.

(NE)

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