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Ten-year-old leukaemia sufferer was 'headbutted by racist driver'

STV | Monday, 11 February 2013 | Click here for original article


A ten-year-old leukaemia patient was knocked unconscious when a man headbutted him as he walked home with friends, Glasgow Sheriff Court heard on Monday.

The child, who was feeling ill after chemotherapy, had stopped in the street as he felt unwell and spat out his chewing gum only for a passing driver to stop and attack him the court heard.

The boy, who is now 12 and cannot be named for legal reasons, said he was going home from Springburn Leisure Centre in Glasgow when he was attacked.

The schoolboy from Somalia said he was chased but stopped running and turned round and that is all he can remember before being knocked unconscious. His friends told him he was headbutted.

He said his family have since moved to London because he was having nightmares and scared to go outside.

The boy was giving evidence at Glasgow Sheriff Court at the trial of 26-year-old John Cassidy, who is accused of assaulting the boy on October 16, 2011 at Fountainwell Road, to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and the danger of his life.

Cassidy, from Cardonald, Glasgow, denies the charge.

Giving evidence behind a screen, the boy told the jury he was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009 and was still receiving chemotherapy and medication in 2011.

He told procurator fiscal depute Natalie Henderson he was walking home with his friends after swimming and was feeling unwell.

He said: "I was drinking Dr Pepper and taking gum because I was feeling sick. I was taking steroids and stuff."

The court heard he stopped and crouched down, put a bottle of juice on the ground and spat chewing gum on to the road. His friends then shouted at him to run.

Miss Henderson asked: "Why did your friends say to run?"

The witness replied: "They saw behind me someone running."

The jury heard the boy started running and said he heard "swearing and racist things" being shouted at him.

He said he stopped and turned towards the man who was running at him and that is all he remembers.

He said: "That's all I saw, him run at me." He added: "My friends told me he headbutted me."

The court was told since the incident the boy has been scared to go outside in case he is attacked again and he has not been to that leisure centre since.

Miss Henderson asked why his family moved to London and he told her: "Because of the accident. I was having nightmares and scared to go outside."

The boy's 14-year-old friend gave evidence that when they were walking home and the boy spat out his chewing gum it hit a passing car.

He told the court: "The car stopped and the person came out and started chasing us, then the five of us got split up, then the person caught up with [the boy] and attacked him by headbutting him."

Miss Henderson put to the 14-year-old that the man "accidentally ran into" his friend.

He said: "I wouldn't say it was an accident because he seemed angry."

The trial before sheriff Norman Ritchie QC continues.


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