Thursday, November 6, 2008
This is the shocking image of a 15-year-old boy left fighting for his life after a brutal attack outside a teenage disco last week.
Gino Hargreaves was attacked in Blackburn last Thursday night after leaving the alcohol-free disco at a town centre nightclub.
As he walked home, a group of up to three young men forced the teenager to the ground and kicked him as he lay defenceless.
Onlookers described hearing a 'sickening sound' as Gino received a severe blow to the head.
The teenager is now in intensive care at Salford's Hope Hospital where he has been sedated into a coma.
His family, who have been maintaining a bedside vigil, issued an emotional appeal for witnesses.
At a press conference, Gino's grandmother, Diane Campbell, said: 'This family are totally devastated and in a state of shock as we watch our son, grandson, nephew and cousin fighting for his life on a life-support machine.
'I would appeal to anyone who has any information to please come forward and contact the police for the sake of Gino. We have to stop this happening to another family.'
She added: 'There is no honour in this attack, just the opposite in fact. It brings great shame on our community who are producing such cowardly vindictive thugs, because who else other than a thug would treat a child in this way?'
Gino's mother, Alana-Jane Hargreaves, fought back tears as his uncle, Paul Newton, paid tribute to the teenager.
'Gino is an absolutely fabulous lad. He is a bit of a wanderer at times, he's very independent. He has a lot of friends in Blackburn, a typical 15-year-old, and is always smiling.
Victim: Police believe someone must have information on Gino's attackers
'To tell you what kind of lad he is, he still saves his pocket money every year to buy his family Christmas presents - how many children do that nowadays?
'We are all hoping that we don't lose him, we love him very much. How can anyone take that kind of love away?'
Gino, a pupil at Witton Park High School, left the disco at Liquid nightclub in Blackburn at around 8pm on October 30.
After visiting a local youth club with friends he began walking home and was attacked on Hancock Street shortly after 10pm.
Police believe three young men of Asian origin may have been involved in the assault.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Gray of Lancashire Constabulary said the attack was 'extremely serious'.
'From what we can establish evidentially there has been the sound of a fight or a scuffle.
'He was seen on the ground and whilst on the ground defenceless one of the members of the group has kicked him with a severe blow to the head, giving off a sickening sound.
'Obviously the likelihood is that that blow has led to the serious head injuries that were sustained.'
He added: 'I have a team of officers who are exhausting a number of lines of inquiry but I remain convinced that people in Blackburn know something and they must do the decent thing and come forward and contact us.'
Anyone with information is asked to call 01254 51212 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.