Autistic boy beaten with spanner in gang attack
A DISABLED teenage boy was ruthlessly beaten with spanners and repeatedly kicked and bashed to the head and body in a horrifying attack outside a high school in Melbourne's north.
Defenceless autistic boy Quinn Lahiff-Jenkins was set upon by five armed youths who pinned the 14-year-old to the ground and senselessly beat him in full view of passing motorists outside Northcote High School on Tuesday.
Disturbing footage obtained by the Herald Sun shows Quinn being yanked off his bike and pinned to the ground. A second boy in a grey top attempts to stop the attack on Quinn and is in turn set upon by a teen who strikes him with a spanner.
"You got a problem? You got a problem?" the spanner-wielding teen says to his victim.
The attacker lands multiple blows to Quinn's head while another youth whacks his legs with a metal spanner. Once he regains his footing, a boy grabs him to the head and knees him in the head before taking him to the ground again.
He is then cornered between two boys armed with spanners, who attack him from front and behind before chasing him toward traffic where he is held down and kicked to the head by three boys.
The young victim's mother Carmen Lahiff-Jenkins said her worst nightmare came to life when she received a phone call from her screaming and distressed son as he lay in the back of an ambulance on the way to the Austin Hospital.
He is yet to leave his home and fears the terror which may await him outside.
Ms Lahiff-Jenkins said the physical pain was obvious but it was the emotional and mental damage that would hurt her son the most.
"There are marks on his body but mental health is the biggest issue," she said.
The horrific attack comes just a year after the boy entered the mainstream school system.
The traumatised teen has spent most of his life at special schools, and had recently began forming friendships at Fitzroy High School
Quinn rode his bike to Northcote High School before 4pm on Tuesday to confront the bullies who he claimed had verbally harassed him and his friend.
The badly beaten boy told his mother the group had been taunting him with homophobic slurs and at one point threatened to "rape his mother".
They told him to come to the school to fight "one versus one" and not to bring friends.
Quinn's friend, who is also on the autism spectrum, had told Quinn he had been taking the long way to school to avoid the bullies.
Ms Lahiff-Jenkins said her son was "justice driven" and wanted to protect his friend.
She has been left stunned at the violence.
"It's so hard to be a teenage boy, let alone grapple with the social weight of autism without being targeted by bullies," she tweeted.
Victoria Police is investigating the assault. Ms Lahiff-Jenkins said she will pursue criminal charges against her son's attackers.
Northcote High School and the Department of Education declined to comment due to the ongoing police investigation.