A schoolgirl with autism could be mentally scarred for life after she was attacked by a gang of 15 youths in a play park.
Ellie Duffy, 13, was pushed, punched and had mud thrown in her face and mouth by the taunting boys.
It is believed the same gang is responsible for two other assaults of young girls in the same area - the Jonathan’s play area at Coffee Hall.
But Ellie’s mum Kirsty has accused police of not acting quickly enough to catch the culprits.
She watched the boys playing in the park for 30 minutes after the attack, which rendered Ellie a “hysterical wreck”.
“I kept calling police and telling them to come out and catch them, but they didn’t turn up.
“In fact they didn’t come out to us until a week later, and that was only after countless emails and calls on my part.”
Kirsty, who lives on Coffee Hall, had spent years building up timid Ellie’s confidence.
“This was the first time she’d ever been out alone with her friends to play in the park. She may never regain the confidence to go out alone again after what happened.
“It is an awful thing for any young girl to go through, but for somebody with autism is devastating and life-changing,” she said.
Ellie, who goes to school at the Bridge Academy medical unit, has self-harmed repeatedly by cutting her arms after the attack, said her mum.
Though Ellie is 13, her emotional age is much younger. This is common with people on the autistic spectrum and they are often vulnerable, Kirsty added.
Some of the boys were as young as 12, others were up to 15 years old.
They attacked Elie on February 14, at 4.20pm and police put out a witness appeal 10 days later.
Police are investigating the offence and analysing CCTV footage from nearby.
A police spokesman said: “A force inspector is also investigating our initial response and has kept the victim’s mother fully informed during this process.”
Anybody with any details about the 15 boys should call PC Jim Adams on 101. If you want to stay anonymous you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.