Friday 23 August 2019

Teenage boys need skin grafts following horrific 'acid' attack

Shocking: Tega Agberhiere (16) was left with burns to his face following the horrific assault
Shocking: Tega Agberhiere (16) was left with burns to his face following the horrific assault
Christy Agberhiere told how much pain her son Tega was in

Conor Kane and Robin Schiller

Two of the three teenagers subjected to a suspected 'acid' attack will require ongoing hospital treatment and skin grafts following the assault.

Ireland manager Mick McCarthy and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar were among those to express shock at the incident in which a corrosive substance, which gardaí believe was drain cleaner, was poured on the boys.

Ireland U17 footballer Tega Agberhiere (16) was left with serious facial and eye injuries following the attack and remains in Cork University Hospital. His friend Padraig Sullivan revealed that he suffered injuries to both legs and will need skin grafts. Padraig plays underage hurling for Waterford. A third teenager in the group sustained back injuries.

A Garda investigation into the attack in Waterford is ongoing and four males have been arrested as part of the investigation. The suspects, a juvenile and three men aged 18 and 19, were detained over the weekend following last Thursday's assault. The three boys were attacked at around 11pm in the Earl's Court estate near the Donore Road.

A file is expected to be prepared for the DPP.

Tega's mother Christy Agberhiere said her son was in "so much pain" following the assault. "He was crying, they had to give him painkillers... He was in real pain because it was hurting all over his face."

Doctors at University Hospital Waterford have been working to save Tega's sight since he was hospitalised on Thursday night and he was transferred to Cork University Hospital yesterday morning.

"He's getting better but still in hospital," his mother told WLRFM's 'Deise Today' programme. "It's a good thing he was wearing contact lenses, the inflammation was so much, the eyes are closed."

She said that two of the people who committed the assault were wearing Scream-type masks and one had a golf club.

Tega represented Ireland at under-15 and under-16 level.

It is understood his eyesight has improved since he was initially hospitalised in Waterford, but needs treatment for burns to his face, head and neck. He was born in Waterford and is studying for the Leaving Cert at Waterpark College. His parents are originally from Nigeria and moved to Ireland in 2002.

Another boy injured in the attack, Padraig Sullivan, plays underage hurling for Waterford and sustained acid-type burns to his legs, causing nerve and tissue damage.

Padraig's father Mark said it looked like his son had walked through a bonfire when he saw him following the attack.

Mr O'Sullivan said they now face a two-week wait before doctors can begin the skin graft work as the nerves and veins in his son's leg have been damaged by the corrosive substance.

He said he was concerned about his son's recovery, and any interruption that it might have on his exams, the apprenticeship that he was hoping to start and his hurling career.

Republic of Ireland senior boss Mick McCarthy, Under-17 team manager Colin O'Brien and Under-16 boss Paul Osam sent best wishes to the three teens following the incident.

"I know Tega is a very promising young footballer and I hope and pray that he is back on the pitch in the very near future," said McCarthy.

Mr Varadkar labelled the attack on the teenagers as "terrifying". "I am really horrified to hear about the acid attack," he said. "But you really have to wonder what kind of poison exists in the mind of somebody who would throw acid on another person, somebody who would try to disfigure somebody. It's terrifying, quite frankly."

Irish Independent

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