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Friday 24 January 2020

Laughing thugs set fire to my son and then filmed it - Mother's fury

Mother's fury at attack on 13-year-old

Caoimhin Russell who was set alight in an attack
Caoimhin Russell who was set alight in an attack

Nevin Farrell

A mother has blasted a group of teenagers who set fire to her son – while attempting to make a sick video of the horror incident.

Adele Russell (34), of Ardglen Place in Ardoyne in north Belfast, said her child had a miracle escape and was uninjured after having the presence of mind to rip off his jumper and run around in circles as flames leapt above his head.

Friends of 13-year-old Caoimhin Russell were able to help beat out the fire and the terrorised teenager immediately ran back to his house after the shock incident just before 11pm on Thursday at Havana Place, near shops at Ardoyne Avenue.

The only signs of the fire were scorch marks on the youngster's jumper which was taken away by police who are investigating the incident.

Ms Russell described the attack as "attempted murder" and believes those involved were around 15 years old.

She said they had tried to turn her son into a human torch so they could video it and put it on social media.

She told the Belfast Telegraph: "Caoimhin was coming from the shop with a couple of friends when somebody went up behind him and squirted his back with a juice bottle which contained some sort of flammable liquid and then set it on fire. They then laughed while videoing it.

"He usually has hairspray on his hair which sticks up so much we call him 'Johnny Bravo' but it was lucky he hadn't any on or that would have gone up.

"Luckily Caoimhin was able to run around in circles and pull the jumper off and his friends helped pat out the flames. We feel because he acted quickly that saved him from being seriously injured.

"It seemed the fuel only burned very quickly before it was able to catch anything else or set his jumper on fire, although there was a scorch mark on it.

"He was terrorised and ran straight home and came in here shaking, full of nerves and feeling sick. He was meant to go and have a sleepover with his friends but wasn't able to.

"He could have been left with severe burns but it all lasted just a few seconds and he was able to get the jumper off and put the flames out. It was attempted murder for a laugh and that is sick."

Ms Russell said she contacted police and was also speaking out about this because she would not like something similar to happen to anyone else.

A PSNI spokeswoman said: "We are aware of an incident which occurred in the Ardoyne Avenue area of Belfast on Thursday evening at approximately 11pm. Enquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding this incident."

The incident has been fiercely criticised on social media.

Caoimhin's aunt, Kathleen Russell, said: "He was smart enough and ran in circles until he got his top off. Some other kid might not be as fast and get seriously hurt. He's all right, his mates said the flames were right up over his head. He ran until he got his jumper off.

"Adele said he stank of petrol. He's just shook up.

"He's very, very lucky. I've barely slept, thinking about it. It could have been so much worse. He's a good kid, no need for that."

Belfast Telegraph

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