Teenager charged with GBH after woman attacked with drill

38-year-old left with ‘very serious’ head injury following assault in Strabane, Co Tyrone

The incident occurred in the Railway Street area of Strabane, Co Tyrone, at around 2am, according to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). Image: Google Maps

A teenager has been charged with attacking a woman with a cordless drill.

The 38-year-old victim was left in a critical condition after sustaining a severe head injury in the assault in Strabane, Co Tyrone, in the early hours of Saturday.

Police officers have been investigating a potential homophobic motive.

The 17-year-old male has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent, possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and theft.

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He is expected to appear at Omagh Magistrates’ Court on Monday. The incident happened at about 2am on Saturday in Railway Street in the town.

Corey French (24), who described himself as a family friend of the victim, said he spoke to her at a local nightclub just hours before the attack.

“She was good craic, we were having a laugh, chatting away,” Mr French said. He described the woman as someone with a “complete and utter heart of gold”. He added: “She wouldn’t be the sort of person who would be confrontational, she would be very friendly.”

On Saturday, Det Sgt Brian Reid said:“We are exploring a possible homophobic motive for the crime, and we are appealing for witnesses to get in touch with us.

“We would like to hear from anyone who may have seen a male carrying a drill in the area at around the time of the assault, and we would especially like to speak to anyone who may have captured footage, either on mobile phone or dash cam.”

Anyone who can help has been asked to contact police in Strabane or talk to the independent charity Crimestoppers.

Local politicians have expressed their disgust. Sinn Féin West Tyrone Assembly member Michaela Boyle said people were shocked at the “horrific” nature of the attack.

She added that, if there does turn out to be a homophobic motive behind the assault, “then this barbaric attack is all the more reprehensible”.

Fellow MLA Daniel McCrossan, of the SDLP called for those with information to come forward. “I am absolutely horrified by this assault. This kind of sickening behaviour has no place in society,” Mr McCrossan said. - Additional reporting PA

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter