Dungiven bus attack: Woman loses teeth in brick attack

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Media captionSandra Major was on a bus when it was attacked in Dungiven

A Belfast woman needed 30 stitches to her face and lost five teeth after being hit with a brick during an attack on a bus in County Londonderry.

Sandra Major, 61, was on a bus returning from the Apprentice Boys parade when it was attacked in Dungiven on Saturday. Four people were injured.

Her sister, Margaret Ritchie, was with her at the time of the attack.

"There was blood all over her face and glass everywhere," Margaret said. "I was hit and was knocked off my feet."

"My sister was slumped over her seat and there was a big hole in the window," she told BBC Radio Foyle.

"It was a brick that hit my sister. It was incredibly frightening.

"I shouted her name a number of times and there was no response.

"When I saw the state of her face it really shocked me.

Dental work

"They had to remove glass from her face at the Ulster Hospital. She can barely speak and doesn't really remember what happened."

Image caption The brick that hit Ms Major lies on the floor inside the bus

Ms Ritchie said her sister would have to have extensive dental work following the attack.

"We are all in a state of shock. She doesn't think she will ever go on a bus again," she said.

"We have been going to the parade for 15 years and never had any bother. There wasn't one flag, no band uniforms and no chanting on that bus.

"We can't blame the good people of Dungiven."

Fr Aidan Mullan told the BBC on Sunday that the attack was "shameful".

A 16-year-old boy arrested after the attack on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm has since been released on bail pending further inquiries.

'Traumatic'

DUP Deputy Mayor of Belfast, Guy Spence, said: "There is no doubt that this was a very traumatic experience.

Image copyright John Brennan
Image caption There were 29 people on the bus in total

"It is disappointing and it's something we do not want to see.

"There needs to be a review as to how and why this happened.

"I'm not aware of any wrong doings on this bus or any other bus passing through Dungiven."

Sinn Fein MLA Cathal O'Hoisin said: "This is entirely unjustified and I condemn it.

"I hope Sandra makes a full recovery. I will be meeting with the police."

The Police Service of Northern Ireland's district commander Supt Mark McEwan said: "I felt disappointed.

"Between 10,000 and 15,000 were enjoying the Apprentice Boys parade and it was a successful day.

"It is incredibly unfortunate that this happened in Dungiven but we have to keep this in perspective."

Image caption The annual parade commemorates the ending of the 17th Century siege of the city

Jim Brownlee, the Governor of the Apprentice Boys of Derry, said: "This attack was absolutely disgraceful.

"The police helicopter might have been better deployed in areas such as Dungiven.

"There is always going to be a negative but we should keep hold of the positives. Saturday was a very successful day in general."

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