Northern Ireland

Man with Asperger's and brother 'lucky to be alive' after assault outside Armagh cinema

John McQuaid (right) and his brother Sean
John McQuaid (right) and his brother Sean

The mother of an Armagh man with learning difficulties has said her son is lucky to be alive after he and his brother were attacked outside a cinema.

John McQuaid (27) has Asperger’s and had been watching the latest Fast and Furious film with his brother Sean (25) on Friday.

Police said that around 8pm they were alerted that two men had been assaulted by a group of around 20 men after an altercation in the Scotch Street area of Armagh.

The two men sustained cuts and bruises during the attack and shared photos of their injuries.

Speaking to the Irish News, Pamela McQuaid said her sons were traumatised and has appealed to anyone with information to contact the PSNI.

“John has learning problems and he took a massive seizure that night and ended up in Craigavon hospital,” she said.

“We didn’t get home till 7am the next morning. Sean’s mouth and face is now completely black because they just went for their heads.

“They didn’t go to any other parts of their body.”

Ms McQuaid’s sons told her that some of the group who attacked them had been in the same cinema screening.

While leaving the building, she said a confrontation started when John had tried to push past one of the group.

“They left the building and when they went outside there was about 20 of them and they just started on them,” she said.

Thanking a young girl who phoned the police, Ms McQuaid said she feared her sons would otherwise have been more seriously injured or even killed.

 “It should never have happened. They were only going to watch a film, Sean always take John to the cinema as he has learning difficulties and it’s a treat for him.

“This is the first time anything like that has happened. They have both made police statements and the police said they will keep me informed.

“I’m just disgusted at the men who did this. My boys are good lads, they’ve never done anyone a bit of harm.

“It’s just heartbreaking to see their faces. I’m so angry deep down inside about it.”

Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed the assault or may have CCTV footage to call 101, quoting reference 1858 for May 19.