Baseball bat attack being treated as hate crime

An attack on five young men by a masked gang in Newtownabbey, that is being treated by police as a hate crime, has been described as ‘traumatic’.

A number of men, armed with baseball bats, forced their way into a house in the Hollybank Drive area in Newtownabbey on Sunday evening at around 8:20pm.

The men who were in the house at the time are all originally from Romania.

A neighbour, who came to the rescue after hearing a commotion in the street, says the house was ‘like a war zone’.

One of the victims was taken to hospital for treatment to his injuries.

Describing what she saw when entering the house she said: “The young boys in the backroom upstairs were petrified. The guy that was injured was in the main bedroom on the floor.

“He had serious head injuries, he had what looked like either a stab wound or a gunshot wound to his shoulder.

"His leg looked to be broken and you could see the dents where a baseball bat or a hammer had injured him. It was just traumatic."

The victim was said to be falling in and out of consciousness.

Credit: UTV

Neighbours said they had seen men going into the house with balaclavas and baseball bats.

“Every window was smashed. The house was a mess, the toilet even had been kicked, there was water everywhere, there was blood everywhere.”

“To think that this would happen in 2019, it’s frightening and it’s sickening to be honest.”

Smashed windows at the back of the property in Hollybank Drive Credit: UTV

Alderman Fraser Agnew (UUP) says he believes loyalist paramilitaries may be involved.

"It would appear at this stage that it’s down to some of the loyalist paramilitaries.

“Unfortunately this is the type of society that we live in at the moment. People tend to want to take the law into their own hands, and tend to do that.

“There may be other issues involved here, a revenge attack or something like that, but whatever the reason for it, it is simply not acceptable."

Detectives are appealing for anyone with any information to contact them.

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