Croydon 'hate crime': Police release images of three suspects after brutal attack on teen refugee

17-year-old Kurdish Iranian youth fighting for life after attack at bus stop on Saturday

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The Independent Online

Detectives investigating a suspected hate crime that left a teenage asylum seeker fighting for his life have released the images of three people they wish identify and question.

The two men and a woman are being sought in connection with the attack on a 17-year-old Kurdish Iranian who was attacked at a bus stop in Croydon, south east London.

Eight people are being held on suspicion of attempted murder following a series of arrests over the weekend.

The Metropolitan Police said they know “approximately 20” were involved the incident that left the boy with a fractured skull and a blood clot on his brain.

On Monday police renewed their appeal for witnesses and information as the victim remained in hospital in a serious but stable condition.

The bus stop near the Goat Pub in Croydon, London, where the assault took place (Neil Hall/Reuters)

Detective Inspector Gary Castle, from Croydon CID, said: “Whilst arrests have been made, we now know that a large number of people, approximately 20, were involved in the attack on the victim.

“A number of them approached the victim as he waited at a bus stop with two friends outside The Goat public house in the Shrublands.

“It is understood that the suspects asked the victim where he was from and when they established that he was an asylum seeker they chased him and launched a brutal attack. He sustained serious head and facial injuries as a result of this attack, which included repeated blows to the head by a large group of attackers.

“A number of people came to the aid of the victim as he lay unconscious and injured following the assault.

“Two friends of the victim managed to escape the attackers and suffered only minor injuries. There are no other reported injuries.

The Goat pub in Croydon

“If you can help identify any of these people please call my team without delay.”

Neighbours claimed up to 20 people watched while the teenager was kicked and beaten on the ground.

One resident of Shrublands Avenue told the Press Association: “There were more than eight people, there was a massive group coming up from The Goat pub.

“You couldn't see who was hitting who.

“There was one person, the one who ended up in hospital, he was getting absolutely beaten up - kicked, mostly in the facial area. He was getting kicked and punched by everyone.

“There was a group of roughly 10 people that was kicking and punching him, and the rest, another 10 or 20, were all just around watching.

“Then when they heard sirens they started to go. People that were there, witnesses, because they couldn't do anything against a group of 30 people, they had to wait until they moved off and that's when they managed to help him.

“That's eventually when the ambulance and police (arrived), and that was it.”

The attack has drawn widespread condemnation, with Tory minister Gavin Barwell describing the attackers as “scum”.

Mr Barwell, Croydon Central's MP, said: “It's an appalling crime and I hope the people responsible are caught quickly and receive the full force of British justice.”

London mayor Sadiq Khan also condemned the attack, saying hate crime “has no place in London, Britain or anywhere else”, while the Refugee Council said it was “disgusted” by the assault.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also denounced it, saying: “Absolutely shocked at attack on young Kurdish asylum seeker, who came here searching for safety. I fervently hope he makes a full recovery.”

Scotland Yard said a 23-year-old man was arrested in Croydon on Sunday on suspicion of attempted murder, while a 26-year-old man and 17-year-old girl were detained on suspicion of attempted murder and violent disorder.

Five other people are still being questioned by detectives while a sixth, a woman aged 20, was released without charge.

The group - three men aged 20, one aged 24 and a 24-year-old woman - are also being held on suspicion of attempted murder and violent disorder.

Anyone with information about the attack should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Press Association