Date: Tuesday, 30 May 2017
Exclusive: Search for men who beat Eritrean boy abandoned, in same week Britain First are accused of targeting asylum seekers in the area
The 17-year-old was knocked unconscious and lost several teeth when he was beaten up in Ashford, Kent, by at least five men or boys who allegedly told him they “f****** hate black people”. The attack left him with serious scarring.
Kent police said they could not identify the attackers due to “a lack of descriptions and witnesses”, despite the victim telling them that he has seen the men on the town’s high street since the attack in April.
The boy, from Eritrea, said he called police when the men taunted and threatened him in the centre of town just days after the attack, but officers did not respond in time.
Kent Police said officers arrived within 10 minutes, but that after carrying out a search they were not able to identify or locate the attackers.
In an email seen by The Independent, Kent Police said: “It looks like due to a lack of descriptions and witnesses it will not be possible to investigate it further. Sad to say it is probably unwise to be out alone at that time of night.”
The force told The Independent “all lines of enquiry had been exhausted” and that “the case was filed pending any further information coming to light”.
"There was no report of a weapon being seen or used," they said, adding: “No independent witnesses to the incident were identified and no clear description of the suspect was provided.
"Furthermore, no forensic evidence or CCTV opportunities were identified from enquiries made by officers."
The stabbing occurred less than a fortnight after a brutal attack on a Kurdish Iranian asylum seeker by a mob in Croydon, south London, made headline news.
Thirteen people have since appeared in court in relation to the attack on Reker Ahmed, also 17, which left the boy with a fractured spine, fractured eye socket and bleed to the brain.
Members of the public have so far donated nearly £60,000 to support his recovery.
Croydon and Kent have among the highest numbers of young refugees and asylum seekers in the country.
Kent is believed to have more unaccompanied asylum seeking children in social services care than any other local authority. Many arrived in the port of Dover from Calais in France.
Earlier this year, Kent Police released figures showing a 66 per cent increase in hate crime between July and September 2016.
Razia Shariff, chief executive of Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN), which works with young unaccompanied asylum seekers and refugees in the area, said the charity had seen a spike in incidents recently.
“We have been made aware of a number of hate crime incidents recently against the young people we work with, which is upsetting,” she told The Independent.
“At KRAN we want to ensure that young people feel safe in their community, so would welcome working with local communities and statutory sector providers to raise awareness and a more positive understanding of the challenges young refugees and asylum seekers face.”
Sources say Kent social services were last week forced to move at least three young asylum seekers and refugees from a property in Canterbury, after the address was identified online and actively targeted by members of Britain First, who falsely claimed a rapist was living in the house.
Two leaders of the far-right group, Paul Golding, 35, and Jayda Fransen, 31, were arrested earlier this week on suspicion of inciting religious hatred after posting videos on social media, local media reports.
The pair have been bailed until next month.