A nine-year-old autistic boy was left with a nail impaled in his HEAD after being attacked by bullies while walking with his parents.
Romeo Smith was strolling behind his mum and dad when a 20cm-long plank of wood was lobbed at his head on Sunday (August 6).
He was rushed to hospital by his parents and had to wait in A&E with the batten still attached to his skull.
Romeo said: “It was a very scary experience.
“When they threw the plank I could feel it stick in the back of my head.
“That was the scariest part, I couldn’t see it because of where it was but I knew it was there, it made me very scared.
“I thought the worst and thought that I was dying.”
Mum Natasha Smith, 30, said: “It was terrible. He was sat there waiting with a plank of wood sticking to his head – like something out of a horror film.
“He was really affected by what has happened.
“It is always hard to tell what Romeo is feeling due to his condition – he does not talk about his feelings.
“But he was really traumatised at the time – not knowing what was happening and having a plank of wood and a nail sticking to his head.”
The incident happened as the family, of Mansfield, Notts., walked home from Romeo’s grandmother’s house.
Natasha said: “Romeo was hanging back as he often does.
“It’s usual for him to trail behind me a bit because of his autism. He likes to stop and look at things so I was ahead of him slightly.
“By the time we got back home we realised he was not with us so I shouted to my husband but he had already gone to look for him.”
Natasha’s husband Craig, 35, found Romeo trapped up a tree by three boys who were brandishing sticks and calling him names.
As Craig approached Romeo came down from his perch but as the pair walked away one of the boys picked up the plank and threw it.
The nail pierced the skin at the back of Romeo’s head and Craig scooped him up in his arms and ran home to Natasha, who is a nurse.
Not wanting to remove the nail for fear of causing Romeo any further injuries they rushed him to hospital.
Doctors gave Romeo morphine and removed the nail – which they said had actually hit his skull, causing it to bend.
He is now bandaged and recovering on a course of antibiotics at home with his parents their three other children.
Natasha said: “It is horrible because these three boys were his friends and had been knocking round for him during the summer.
“They are a couple of years older than him and probably found him vulnerable and an easy target.
“I have no idea how long the bullying has been going on but it is worrying that they have done this in front of an adult.
“You wonder what else they are capable of.
“People need to think before they do things, it could have been a lot worse.”
Natasha said Romeo was now back to his normal self but she was heartbroken by the long-term effect the attack could have.
She said: “With autism everything is heightened so he was very anxious about it.
“It also really scared my other children who were upset at seeing Romeo hurt like this.
“We do not want these boys in trouble with the law because they are just kids.
“But something needs to be done – this an example of how boredom during the summer holidays can go a bit far.”
Police say they received a report of an assault on a boy which happened on Lion Street, Mansfield, at about 9.15pm on Sunday (August 6, 2017).
The nine-year-old boy was taken to hospital but has since been discharged.
A Nottinghamshire Police spokesman said: “We are continuing to engage with the victim’s family, working with them to offer a resolution that they are satisfied with.
“This incident is currently being reviewed by the Youth Offending Team with a consideration to being dealt with via the Restorative Justice route. This would aim to tackle on-going issues which led up to the incident occurring.
“Whether a case is dealt with by arrest and prosecution or through Restorative Justice is considered on a case-by-case basis, with all parties involved being consulted in that decision-making process.
“The Restorative Justice route sees us working closely with both the victim and the offenders, and, where appropriate, their families, to establish a solution that suits all involved.
“Most of the cases in which we do use Restorative Justice involve young people.
“We recognise that children sometimes do things without considering the consequences or the seriousness of their actions. In cases such as this, where genuine remorse is shown and there is an understanding of the consequences of their actions, we try to mediate between both parties to avoid progressing down the criminal justice route.
“Restorative Justice not only avoids people being criminalised at a young age it is also an important tool in quickly reintegrating them into school and society, hopefully having learnt their lesson without having to pay for it.”
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