'I couldn't do anything': man with learning difficulties recalls Armagh attack beside brother

A young man with learning difficulties has said he was left helpless after being attacked by a group of men in Armagh city centre.

John McQuaid had just finished watching a film at a cinema on Market Street last Friday (19 May) alongside his brother Sean.

When the film had ended, they say they were confronted by other people.

After leaving the cinema shortly after, they were approached by what police say was a group of up to 20 individuals.

Sean and John both suffered injuries including cuts and bruises. John's injuries ended up requiring hospital treatment.

Sean said he tried to explain to their alleged attackers that his brother had learning difficulties and asked not to start a fight.

"At that time in the cinema, he walked away but it didn't start until we got outside the cinema grounds," Sean told UTV.

He added: "As a big group of them approached, you know, when you looked at it that way, you weren't getting out of it... you just sort of knew something was going to happen."

"I couldn't do anything," said his brother John, "because there were some on me and some on him."

Drivers and passers-by realised what was happening. They helped alert police and Sean managed to phone the boys' mother, Pamela.

"He (Sean) said, 'Mummy, can you get down quick and me and the husband jumped into the car," she told UTV.

"I was so angry, so frustrated that I couldn't do anything for them two boys. My heart went out to both of them."

Sean said that the attack, which took place in daylight, has made him and his brother think twice about entering their home city alone.

"It would just make you more wary of who you're around, the surroundings that you're in like.

"If you're going down near an alleyway or town centre or something like that there," he said.

Two men who were arrested have been released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

The family remain resolute in hoping those responsible are brought to justice.

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