‘They could have caused brain damage’ – York mum hits out after son is attacked by gang wearing balaclavas

‘All he could see was their eyes…’ All three attackers wore balaclavas. Photograph: Tobias "ToMar" Maier on Wikipedia
16 Jul 2019 @ 5.17 pm
| Crime, News

A York mum has spoken of her disgust after her son was attacked by three youths wearing balaclavas in broad daylight.

Mary Bardwell spoke to YorkMix after her 16-year-old son Cain was left with concussion and facial injuries after the unprovoked assault.

Cain was off to meet friends at the Tesco store at Askham Bar on Saturday (13 July).


He was walking through the former Park&Ride site at about 1.15pm. Then three males of average height and build, all dressed in black tracksuits and balaclavas, shouted abuse at him.

They then knocked him to the ground and started to lay into him. Mary said:

  • Cain said they were just setting about his head. They weren’t bothered about anything else – they just wanted to kick him and punch him in the head.

    I don’t think they know what damage they can do. That could be my son laid in intensive care.

Man intervened

The former Askham Bar Park&Ride next to Tesco off Tadcaster Road in York. Photograph © Google Street View
She said it could have been much worse if a man on a bike had not intervened.

“I don’t know who the man is, but he told the lads to get off him and told Cain to run, which he did.”

As soon as Cain contacted his mum to tell her what had happened, she raced over to pick him up from her Woodthorpe home about ten minutes away.

“When I picked him up he was in a right old state,” Mary said. “His nose was bleeding and he was shaken up.”

Cain was concussed and was vomiting. He suffered an injured jaw and facial bruising.

He was taken to York Hospital where he had a CT scan. Fortunately this showed no lasting damage.

Could have been worse

Photograph: YorkMix
But it could have been so different had the cyclist not turned up, Mary said:

  • I dread to think what would have happened to him.

    I feel sick. I don’t know whether to cry. As I said at the hospital they could have had knives.

    I’m absolutely disgusted. It’s on my mind all the time.

    Are they going to do it again in the holidays to somebody else?

    My worry is if they do it to someone who’s smaller and they’re not as fortunate as Cain. They could cause serious brain damage.

She said the fact they were wearing balaclavas had been particularly unsettling.

“They scared my son. All he could see was their eyes.”

She has told him not to cut through the closed Park&Ride again.


“Apparently where the Park&Ride used to be on a night is heaving with kids, boy racers.

“But this was one o’clock in the afternoon.”

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said:

  • He is still very shaken by the unprovoked attack and is recovering at home.

    We are asking for the public’s help to establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident.

    In particular, we are appealing for information about a male cyclist who was passing and disturbed the attackers.

If you can help contact the police – details below.

north-yorkshire-police-logo-25How to help the police

Call North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2 and ask for Terence Priestman
Contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via the website
Email Terence Priestman here
Quote reference number 12190126778