Alleged perpetrators of acid attack on teenagers will not be charged

Families of victims unhappy after being told juvenile cautions will be given instead

Tega Agberhiere (17), an underage Irish soccer international who suffered serious injuries during an attack last in which gardaí said a ‘corrosive substance’ was used. File photograph: Damian Tiernan via Twitter

Tega Agberhiere (17), an underage Irish soccer international who suffered serious injuries during an attack last in which gardaí said a ‘corrosive substance’ was used. File photograph: Damian Tiernan via Twitter

 

Gardaí have informed families of teenagers who were the victims of an alleged acid attack in Waterford last April that two of the alleged perpetrators are not going to be charged.

Gardaí telephoned families with the decision of the Director of Public Prosecution, saying the two will receive juvenile cautions.

The families have reacted with shock and disappointment and say they will fight the decision.

Tega Agberhiere (17) was one of the three victims of the attack. He suffered horrific injuries to his face, eyesight and other parts of his body when a substance was thrown on him. He plays for Waterford FC’s under-17 side and has represented Ireland at underage level.

Gardaí had said at the time “a corrosive substance” was used.

His mother Christie Agberhiere says her “heart is broken” after being informed the alleged perpetrators would not be charged. She was speaking following a meeting with Waterford gardaí on Wednesday afternoon.

She said gardaí explained that, due to the alleged perpetrators being underage, and due to them not coming to Garda attention before the incident last April, the two will instead receive juvenile cautions. Gardaí also told her, she said, that the two boys would need to avoid coming to Garda attention over the coming year.

“My heart is broken. I am highly highly disappointed and I am angry. It’s unbelievable,” she said.

The incident occurred in the Earlscourt housing estate on the Dunmore Road in Waterford. Gardaí had said at the time “a corrosive substance” was used.

Ms Agberhiere said she intends to fight the decision: “This boy needs justice. His looks have been destroyed but it has affected him emotionally, physically...They need to review the decision.

“He has had to go to hospital in Cork, in Waterford, for skin grafts and just for this decision to be made. I know what we went through as a family and what we’re still going through.”

She said she wants to appeal it directly to the Minister for Justice and the Taoiseach. “This is an attack that has changed the whole routine of my family.”

Emma Daly’s son Oisín (19) who was also attacked said she too wants to try to appeal the decision.

“How can they justify the decision that has been made when three lads have been left scarred for life? What message does this send to young teenagers?,” she asked.

She is hopeful her son’s final hospital appointment for his burn injuries is next month. She said her son is now in college in Limerick and is “happy he’s not in Waterford anymore”.

“But it doesn’t make it easier on me that he’s only happy when he’s away from Waterford,” she added.

“We’ve had sleepless nights. I’m worried sick when he goes out now that I’m going to get a phone call. This is with us forever.”

Padraig Sullivan, one of the three men injured in the incident, told Deise Today on WLR that he too is surprised by the decision and wants to know how and why the DPP came to the decision.

To date nobody has been charged in relation to the incident.