Four teenagers who were accused of attacking a disabled woman have asked police for protection over concerns for their own safety.
The group, two 15-year-olds and two 17-year-olds, were arrested after after they allegedly threw eggs and flour on a disabled woman in a park in Bury St Edmunds.
The teenagers then posed for a photo behind the woman.
The shocking images of the cruel attack were shared on social media – and now the boys and their families are reportedly asking for police protection after receiving death threats over the photo.
The boys, who cannot be named due to their ages, were arrested and bailed following the incident on Friday, July 27. However, they were identified by others online and their names were leaked.
One of the boys is apparently celebrating his 16th birthday, though his mother says the news of the crime will ruin it.
Speaking to MailOnline, the boy’s mother said:
We can’t say anything about what went on over the weekend but my son’s name has been leaked over the internet and we’ve had threats.
I’ve reported the abuse to police and we are now under their protection. If anyone comes to our home to cause problems, we have a number we can call which will get the police here straight away.
This isn’t what we need. It’s my son’s 16th birthday and we’ve got family here for his party.
The father of one of the other boys said he marched his son to the local police station to confess to what he did before grounding him indefinitely.
He told me what he had done and I told him that it was an idiotic thing to do.
I marched him straight down to the local police station and made him tell the officers what had happened.
He didn’t throw any of the flour or eggs on that woman, he just joined the others in posing for the photograph.
He wasn’t arrested but he did give a statement.
There’s been death threats made against him online and we’ve told the police about it. He’s at home at the moment and that’s where he’s staying.
The victim of the attack, who has asked not to be named, spoke about the incident yesterday (July 30). She was left humiliated and distressed after being publicly plastered with the eggs and flour.
I don’t consider it acceptable but I don’t particularly want to escalate the current tension in the area.
I’ve got to be careful with how I deal with things obviously.
She said she has received support from friends and neighbours since the incident, saying ‘people have rallied round me’.
Local town councillor Paul Hopfensperger said:
I was absolutely sickened by what I saw. It’s just a small group of lads who seem intent on causing trouble all the time.
This lady I understand is a vulnerable person and for them to do that to her I was shocked and saddened.
It’s a lovely estate with lots of good people but there’s a small group of people causing trouble with anti-social behaviour and drugs.
The image of the teenagers and the woman was shared widely online after social media personality Robin Armstrong posted the image to his 750,000 followers.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.