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4 August 1999 Edition

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Man left for dead outside RUC barracks

A 22-YEAR-OLD West Belfast man was stripped, beaten and left for dead outside Woodbourne RUC barracks on the weekend of 24/25 July.

Gerard Smith, from the Glen Road, was returning from a party in Twinbrook when the incident occurred. He explained:

``I was dandering along the road when three men suddenly appeared from the hedge. I knew they were trouble as soon as I saw them but they had me cornered. They asked me a few questions. Then they turned nasty and called me a Fenian bastard. It was then that they began to attack me and I can't remember what happened after that.''

Smith believes that the attackers only stopped their onslaught because they believed that they had killed him.

``The only reason I can think that they stripped me naked is that they thought they had killed me and were afraid they had left traces of blood on my clothes.''

Smith sustained a broken nose and severe bruising as a result of the attack. He was also detained overnight at the Royal Victoria Hospital and has been housebound since the attack.

The young man now believes that he has learned a crucial lesson as a result of the attack and it is one which others must learn:

``You just don't expect something like this to happen to you. I hope my story will make other people aware of the dangers of walking around there on your own. I've lived to tell the tale but I think that was more through accident than design.''
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An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

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