Monday 22 July 2019

Teen beaten and left for dead in wheelie bin on film set

Matthew Symington

A CATHOLIC teenager was left for dead after he was beaten by sectarian thugs as he left a film set in Belfast.

James Turley, 18, was working as an extra for the movie when he was attacked and dumped semi-conscious into a wheelie bin as he heard one of the attackers declare: "That's enough. I think he's dead."

The teenager was confronted by a mob in the loyalist Village area of the city where a production team had just finished filming a scene for a movie, The Good Man, starring Love/Hate star Aidan Gillen.

Four other friends who were with him had also been taking part in the film.

A gang surrounded their car, pulling off a wing mirror and smashing a window. They then made a run for it, but James, a trainee chef from the Catholic Short Strand area on the far side of the city, was caught. At one stage he tried to hide in a nearby house, calling on the family: "Please help me. They're going to kill me."

James told the Irish News newspaper he could hear one of the chasing gang shouting: "There's a Taig in there."

He added: "They all just came in and started beating me."

He said. "They stamped on my head and everywhere. The woman (the householder) said: 'Get him out of my garden' and they dragged me out into the alley.

"They just started beating me again. They put me in a bin and were pushing me somewhere. I didn't know where I was going ... when I got put in the bin I thought that was it.

"I think they realised they couldn't beat me when I was in the bin. They kicked or pushed it over and dragged me out of it."

The teenager said at one point he was knocked out, but "I started to come around and then I heard them saying: 'That's enough. I think he's dead'."

Later he managed to flag down a passing motorist who drove him to Royal Victoria Hospital, less than a mile away. His mother Donna, whose husband Frank was murdered in 1998, said she thought her son had been killed. She went to her son's bedside last Friday.

She said: "It's like deja vu. I can't remember getting to the hospital. I just kept thinking: 'Please, please, just let him hang on for me'."

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