West Belfast child (7) left 'petrified' after knife held to stomach in random street attack

Ciaran Óg Boyd (7), who plays for St John's GAC in west Belfast, had a knife held to his stomach
Marie Louise McConville

A WEST Belfast man has told how his seven-year-old son was left "petrified" after a knife was held into his stomach when he was confronted by two youths as he walked to a relative's house with his young cousin.

Ciaran Boyd, a father-of-four from the Summerhill area of Twinbrook, said his son Ciaran Óg, who plays for St John's GAC, was targeted by two boys thought to be aged 11 or 12, who were armed with the weapon.

Mr Boyd, whose daughters are Antrim hurlers and camogs, said his son had left the family home at around 7.30pm on Sunday with his young cousin to walk to her house when the pair were confronted just 100 yards away.

"Two wee lads came up to them," said Mr Boyd. "One of them said he (Ciaran Óg) had been slabbering about one of their mothers. Ciaran said `I don't even know your mummy".

Mr Boyd said one of the boys then "pulled a knife out of his pocket" and held it into his son's stomach.

Ciaran Óg Boyd pictured with his father, Ciaran

The boy asked Ciaran Óg if he played for St John's GAC, as he was wearing the club kit, before claiming he himself played for a rival GAA club.

The other boy then said to his armed accomplice: "Just leave them, not this time."

Mr Boyd, who works as a leisure centre manager, described what had happened as "surreal".

Following the incident, he said his son - who spends his time at football and Gaelic training as well as playing matches at the weekend - was left "petrified".

"There wasn’t a word out of him," he said.

"He sat here and I left him for 45 minutes. He just said `Daddy I just froze'. He said `I thought he was going to stick it right in'."

Mr Boyd said his son, who attends Scoil na Fuiseoige, described the weapon used as being similar to a fishing knife with a wooden handle which his father owns, which has a 6in blade.

The father-of-four said he is currently in contact with other GAA clubs in a bid to try and identify the two boys responsible.

Mr Boyd said he had decided to deal with the matter initially through the GAA community and may report it to police down the line if he finds out who was responsible.

"It's absolutely crazy," he said.

"What if my son had argued back? What if the wee lad had tripped? Everything was going through my head," he said.

"What are they doing with a knife? It needs to be taken off the street before a child gets hurt.

"Parents themselves should know where their kids are, check who they are with, just be vigilant."

He added: "It is unbelievable. What happens the next time they put it to a child's throat?"

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