Teenage asylum seeker critically ill after 'brutal gang attack'

A teenage asylum seeker is fighting for his life after being beaten in a "brutal attack" by a gang in what police are treating as a hate crime.

The 17-year-old was waiting at a bus stop with two friends in Croydon, south-east London, when he was set upon by around eight youths.

They asked him where he was from, and when he told them he was an asylum seeker they chased after him and launched their attack.

Scotland Yard said the boy suffered serious head injuries and is in a critical condition in hospital.

His two friends escaped with minor injuries.

The attack happened in Shrublands Avenue at 11.40pm on Friday, and no arrests have been made.

Detective Sergeant Kris Blamires said: "At this early stage it is believed that about eight suspects 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 has sustained critical 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.

"The suspects are believed to have made off in the direction of the Goat Pub, Broom Road, following the attack.

"All communities stand together against hate and we would ask anyone with any information to come forward immediately."

Police are urging those who helped the boy and anyone who witnessed the attack to get in touch, calling police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.