Jamie Grierson, The Guardian, April 3, 2017
Detectives investigating a suspected hate crime that left a teenage asylum seeker with a fractured skull and blood clot on the brain have released the images of three people wanted in connection with the “brutal attack”.
Two men and a woman are being sought in connection with the assault on a 17-year-old Kurdish Iranian boy, who was attacked at a bus stop opposite the Goat pub in Croydon, south-east London, on Friday night.
Eight people remain in custody after being arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
The Metropolitan police said they knew approximately 20 people were involved in the incident. His condition on Monday was described as serious but stable and was no longer believed to be life-threatening.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said hate crime had no place in London, while Gavin Barwell, the Conservative MP for Croydon Central, said he was appalled by the attack.
Those arrested are three 20-year-old men, a 24-year-old woman, a 24-year-old man, a 23-year-old man, a 26-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl.
DI Gary Castle, from Croydon CID, said: “While arrests have been made, we now know that a large number of people, approximately 20, were involved in the attack on the victim. A number of them approached the victim as he waited at a bus stop with two friends outside the Goat public house in the Shrublands.
“It is understood that the suspects asked the victim where he was from and when they established that he was an asylum seeker they chased him and launched a brutal attack. He sustained serious head and facial injuries as a result of this attack, which included repeated blows to the head by a large group of attackers.
“A number of people came to the aid of the victim as he lay unconscious and injured following the assault. Two friends of the victim managed to escape the attackers and suffered only minor injuries. There are no other reported injuries.
“If you can help identify any of these people please call my team without delay. All communities stand together against hate. No one should be subjected to violent behaviour, especially those who have come to London to seek refugee and a place of safety.”
Detectives are investigating whether some of those involved had been drinking in the Goat. Managers at the pub said they were saddened to hear of the incident, adding: “We do not in any way condone such action and we will do anything within our powers to help police to bring those that carried out this act to book. To the victim, we pray for his speedy recovery.”
Khan said: “On Friday, a 17-year-old man suffered horrific injuries in a brutal attack in Croydon, which is being treated as a hate crime.
“Hate crime has no place in London, Britain or anywhere else. London is an amazingly diverse city. We don’t just accept our differences, we embrace and celebrate them.
“Our communities will not be divided by those who seek to sow hate. And we will always take a zero-tolerance approach to hate crimes of any type. Anyone who witnesses a hate crime should report it to the police immediately.”
Barwell described the attackers as “scum”. He said: “I think most people in Croydon will be as appalled as I am that what appears to have happened is a young man who came to this country seeking sanctuary has apparently been targeted because of his ethnic background. It’s an appalling crime, and I hope the people responsible are caught quickly and receive the full force of British justice.”
He added that Croydon was a diverse community and generally had “very good relations between people of different backgrounds”.