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Tuesday 19th February – a sad day for the village of Yarnton

It was around 4.40 p.m. and I glanced out of my window across the park, which I live near. There were three male and four female teenagers, all around 14 years old by the looks of things. I noticed that they were smoking, and something about their body language made me uneasy. The next few seconds was absolutely shocking and a concern for every one of us that lives in the village.

Without warning the three males shouted and ran after a younger lad (perhaps 12/13 years old) who was also in the park, knocked him off his bike and repeatedly kicked him on the floor. I watched in horror from my window, powerless, as they landed sickening blows to his body, laughing and smiling as they did so. It’s worth remembering they did this in full view of children in the park. A dad shouted, and the males ran off, but the females stayed in the park chatting, seemingly unconcerned, before wandering off a few minutes later. The young victim was of an ethnic minority and didn’t seem to know the gang – my conclusion is that it could well have been a racially motivated attack. He was dazed but soon got on his bike and rode off. My guess is he may have been too scared to contact the police or perhaps even tell his parents.

A few minutes later the whole gang of seven reappeared in the park – to me their body language was one of arrogant gloating triumph and they clearly had no fear of any retribution or punishment. Shortly they walked away from the park down Merton Lane. It was a truly horrific incident.

Naturally I called 999 but the gang disappeared too soon for any possibility of them being caught. Since then, the neighbourhood police team have been very good about it, and are looking for the group. Perhaps you saw the gang (I didn’t manage to get any useful descriptions, apart from the fact that one of the boys had short back and sides and two of the girls had white tops – and at least a couple had rucksacks).

If you are reading this and think you know the victim, please do encourage him to come forward, as this will aid the police greatly, and also help the poor lad get the support he may be in great need of. Secondly, if you have children, sadly, you might need to think twice about letting them go to the park unaccompanied, and even then please watch them closely. Of course, the vast majority of all park-goers are perfectly law-abiding, but believe me when I say no-one should have to go through what the victim has experienced, and there was also a number of no-doubt traumatized young onlookers to the assault.

Please call Thames Valley Police on 101, or email [email protected] if you have any information. It goes without saying that if you know the perpetrators of this sickening crime, it’s your duty to come forward.

From a very concerned village resident.

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