Church of Ireland minister assaulted by Strabane gang

A Church of Ireland minister has been assaulted by a gang in Strabane in County Tyrone.

The Rev Richard Bryant said he and his wife were just yards from the church with his wife when he was attacked in broad daylight.

He said he was hit on the head and fell to the ground.

Rev Bryant said he would recognise his attacker if he saw him again and would welcome him into his church.

He said: "I was walking down this path and the further I got down the path I could see a group of youths aged around 14-18.

"As I walked towards Castle Street I received a blow to the back of the head. I stumbled and went down.

Shocked

"As I pulled myself up I started to engage them verbally and said, 'Why did you do this why did you hit me, I didn't deserve this' and they just started to laugh hysterically.

"There was a crowd of adults there in the shops and on the sidewalk who saw it."

Rev Bryant said the reaction of people who the incident also shocked him.

"I didn't have a phone with me so I couldn't call 999. I couldn't call anyone or take a picture so I thought by talking to these kids and by engaging them somehow that would hold them there long enough so someone might pick up a phone or call somebody or take a picture or come to my aid.

"Nothing of the sort occurred. I even turned around and said to the crowd, 'You're looking at me like I'm crazy help me.'"

"Then a voice came from behind me in the crowd and said 'yes you are crazy,' someone actually said that to me."