Northern Ireland

Teenager with Asperger's beaten up in north Belfast

A teenager with Asperger's syndrome - a form of autism - has been assaulted in north Belfast.

Aaron Kennedy, 19, was kicked and punched by three youths on the Cavehill Road as he walked home on Sunday night.

The teenager lost his front teeth, has a fractured arm, an injured shoulder, swelling to his face and blurred vision.

"He's very shaken up and very scared - he's scared even to leave the house," his mother Bernie said.

Aaron had been walking home from work with a friend through the Waterworks park.

He left his friend and went down steps onto the Cavehill Road, when he saw three men or youths.

One of them came over to Aaron and asked if he was following him.

"Aaron just ignored him and went to walk on, but they grabbed him back by the bag on his back and pulled him onto the ground and started kicking and booting him and started punching the face off him," Mrs Kennedy said.

"He said to the fella 'I have a disability' and they just laughed and kept on hitting him."

Mrs Kennedy said her son was lucky he had not been even more seriously injured and said she hoped the attackers would be caught soon.

"Someone else might not be as lucky as my son the next time," she said.