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05th May 2018

Woman critically hurt in ‘homophobic’ drill attack

Police have arrested a 17-year-old male

Michael Lanigan

The attack took place in the early hours of Saturday morning

PSNI have detained a 17-year-old male after he attacked a woman in Strabane, County Tyrone on Saturday May 5.

The 38-year-old victim was assaulted with a cordless drill on Railway Street at approximately 2am.

She sustained a “very serious” head injury and was subsequently taken to hospital, where her condition has been described as critical, but stable.

The male suspect was detained by police a short distance from the scene and remains in custody at present.

SDLP assembly member for West Tyrone, Daniel McCrossan, said it was “one of the most horrific incidents” he had learned of during his time as a politician.

“It is a monstrous attack and one that has sent shockwaves across the entirety of the wider Strabane community today,” he added.

“I actually felt sick, that this could happen.”

Detective Brian Reid said: “We are exploring the possible homophobic motive for the crime and we are appealing for witnesses to get in touch with us.

“We would like to hear from anyone who may have seen a male carrying a drill in the area at around the time of the assault and we would especially like to speak to anyone who may have captured footage, either on mobile phone or dashcam.

“Anyone with such footage or any other information that could assist the investigation is asked to contact police in Strabane on 101, quoting reference number 153 05/05/18.

“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”