Northern Ireland news

Girl (15) shot in face with pellet gun

The PSNI have appealed for information

A 15-year-old girl who was wearing traditional Pakistani clothing has been shot in the face with a pellet gun at a Ballymena playground.

Police are investigating the attack on Wednesday as a "hate crime."

The teenager, who was born in Northern Ireland and has lived all her life in Ballymena, was at a play park in the Ballykeel Two estate where she had taken her three cousins aged seven and under.

The family, who did not wish to be named, said they were shocked at what had happened.

An icepack had to be applied to a bleeding wound just above the teenager's eye but the injury is not believed to be serious.

The girl's mother, who was born in Birmingham but who has lived in Ballymena for decades, said her family originally came from Pakistan.

Speaking yesterday, she said: "Fortunately the injury is not as bad as it could have been if the pellet had hit her eye. There is a bit of a mark. Originally it had swelled up and we put ice on it and were watching it in case we had to take her to hospital.

"My daughter and young cousins were very shaken up by what happened and fortunately the younger children were not injured".

It is understood a girl, possibly as young as ten, was suspected of approaching the teenager and firing from close range.

A short time later as the family were tending to the injured girl a kitchen window was damaged with what is believed to have been another pellet but no one inside the house was hurt in that incident.

The PSNI said in a statement: “At approximately 3pm in the Orkney Drive area a teenage girl was injured after being struck on the face with a pellet believed to have been fired from an airgun. A short time later the kitchen window of the victim’s home was damaged after it was shot by a pellet gun.

“We are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident, which we are treating as a hate crime, or anyone with any information, to please call 101 quoting reference number 1414 31/08/19. "

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