Monday 22 October 2018

'I was on fire and could hear laughing' - woman (26) intimidated after firework exploded in hoodie

The horrific attack on the girl was captured on video

Mary McDonnell

THE victim of a horrific firework attack was threatened she’d “get (her) head blown off” if she reported the incident to Gardai.

Michelle Kearns (26), a homeless mother-of-two from Dublin, feared she was going to die when a cruel gang threw a firework into her hood, leaving her with second degree burns and hearing loss when it exploded.

She told The Sunday World she has been warned repeatedly to stay silent or face retaliation. 

She said: “I was getting phone calls warning me not to make a statement. First it was that I’d get my head blown off and then it was that I’ll get more than a firecracker next time and then: ‘Watch yourself walking down the street.’”

The young mum was with a friend in Port Playground on Railway Street in the north inner city last Thursday when they were surrounded by a gang of youths.

She said said one of them, aged around 12, launched the firework on her.

She described the “awful pain” she suffered as the young men laughed while her hair was  in flames.

Video of the incident shows a young man approaching the victim from behind, before lighting a firework and running away.

She said: “Just as I was finishing my cigarette, I realised he (a young man around 12) had come back up behind me and put something in my hood…a rocket. As I turned I could see the smoke coming out of my hood.

“Straight away I was like “I have to get it off” and I tried to get the jacket off but I couldn’t.

“The only thing I could think of then was to bend over and let it fly out, but it didn’t, it just exploded.

“Thank God the streamer went in the direction of the derelict houses and not in the direction of the kids, but the rest of it blew up in my hood and went all over my hair.

“I just felt this awful pain on the right hand side of the crown of my head. It was this burning pain and I honestly thought I was in serious trouble. I did initially think I was going to die here on the side of the road and all I could hear was laughing…nobody tried to help me, they all laughed.

“I go the jacket off and my hair was still up in flames, but I managed to get that out with my jumper top. It was on fire for at least 5 seconds. “My hair was singed up to the crown and there’s a complete bald patch where it was burnt the worse.”

Ms Kearns has been treated for injuries at St James’s Hospital and will find out next week if the hearing loss is permanent.

“I understand why nobody came to help,” she added, revealing that the area is used for selling drugs and people would be warned away from the area.

"It was horrible to think what could have happened. I was so, so lucky.”

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News