A walk in the park turned into a traumatizing ordeal in the Suffolk market town of Bury St. Edmunds, England. A disabled woman was pelted with eggs and flour by a gang of cruel teenage boys and left cowering on a park bench in fear.
But that wasn’t all.
'You deserve to have your heads ripped off your shoulders.'
The boys then posed for a celebratory photo, which sparked fury and outrage after it was posted on Snapchat by one of the gang. The local community was perhaps hit the hardest, claiming that the gang was notorious and had been terrorizing residents for weeks.
The poor victim, 49-year-old Janice Morris, was suffering from severe mental health problems. The boys got into an altercation with Morris, who was walking alone in the park. They goaded her spitefully before spitting on her, then went to buy eggs and flour before returning to pelt the helpless woman and snap a “trophy” photo of her vulnerable state.
Suffolk police, who were quickly called to the scene, reported that Morris was left “severely distressed” but wasn’t physically harmed, as reported by the Independent. “This type of behavior is totally unacceptable,” Inspector Anthony Bridgland later told the Daily Mail. “We would like to reassure everyone that we are tackling the matter robustly and supporting the victim.”
A local resident despaired. “The truth is that there is nothing for these kids to do,” they said, “so they cause trouble.”
Another local woman chimed in, furious with what had happened so close to home. “All I know is that they are local,” she said. “I was absolutely disgusted to hear about what they did to that poor lady.”
“How would they feel if it was their mother, grandmother, or sister?” she asked, outraged. “It is disgraceful, it really is.”
Morris herself bravely spoke out to Sky News. “They circled about a little and then re-appeared with a bag of flour, water, and eggs,” she recalled. “I certainly do consider this to be an assault on my person,” Morris shared, “and my ability to enjoy the green area there. I would like to hear their reasons, if possible.”
“However,” Morris added, with immense compassion, “I have no wish to escalate current tensions.”
Morris’s friend Katherine Brame checked on the victim and confirmed that she was “safe.” Locals had offered to help and send gifts, she said, but what Morris needed most was to be left alone.
In a post that has since been removed, Brame explained on Facebook. “Today’s incident has made me so sad and devastated,” she said. “It’s complicated, but if you want to help, how about donating to a mental health charity,” Brame suggested. “People with these unseen illnesses go under the radar all the time, and they are totally under-funded.”
Teenagers arrested over flour and egg attack on woman amid fears of vigilante backlash https://t.co/dqLi4ojXc2
— The Independent (@Independent) July 30, 2018
Four teens under the age of 18 were arrested by Suffolk police. Five names were leaked online despite the authorities’ best efforts to keep arrest details under wraps, and furious commentary spread like wildfire.
One parent, however, defended her stepson for his involvement in the attack; he was the one who took the distressing photo. “He’s not a tearaway,” the then-17-year-old’s stepmom told the Mail Online. “He’s just been a stupid boy.”
“He’s never been in any major bother before,” she shared, “but this is serious.”
"You deserve to have your heads ripped off your shoulders," a comedian said.
As anger toward the spiteful gang spiraled, police confirmed that they were safeguarding the teens by offering them police protection. This revelation only sparked further anger. “Why should the boys be protected when they caused such immense distress to an innocent woman walking in the park?” people thought.
However, justice came later. The teens received a community order for their misdemeanor, according to an update from The Sun, and will have to carry the burden of their shame for the rest of their lives.
Luckily, this cruel gang of five represents the exception and not the rule. Our most vulnerable neighbors deserve our compassion, and never, under any circumstances, our spite.
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