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An 18-year old film extra has been the victim of a brutal attack as he left the set of a film currently shooting in Belfast. The victim, James Turley, had just finished taking part in the filming of Phil Harrison’s ‘The Good Man’ on Friday 9 January when he was assaulted by a number of attackers in the Donegall Road area of the south of the city.
During his first interview with the press, Turley recounted the event by explaining that he and a number of friends were in their car when the attackers suddenly appeared and began vandalizing the vehicle. He and his friends attempted to flee, however, Turley was pursued onto a residential property by his attackers and it was there that they began their assault on him.
“They all just came in and started beating me. They stamped on my head and everywhere.”
Turley, a trainee chef, said that his attackers were only briefly intercepted when the owner of the property told them to “get him out of [her] garden”, leading them to trail Turley out into an alley where they continued the beating:
“They just started beating me again. They put me in a bin and were pushing me somewhere. I didn’t know where I was going, when I got put in the bin I thought that was it.”
The victim said that he lost consciousness some time after this, and that his last recollection of his attackers is hearing them remark, “That’s enough. I think he’s dead.”
Turley was only able to receive hospital treatment after he caught the attention of a driver who proceeded to take him to the Royal Victoria Hospital in South Belfast. While the exact extent of Turley’s injuries went unreported in the initial account, it is believed that he is currently on the road to recovery.
For his family, however, this attack is just the latest tragedy to touch them. His mother said that the whole experience was a case of “deja vu” for her, referring to the 1998 murder of her husband Frank.
Meanwhile, Turley’s friend Sammy McDaid has offered a further account of the initial confrontation which preceded all of this:
“As I tried to close the car door, they wouldn’t let me, they were holding the door and they were kicking us in through the door … They were kicking and throwing punches through the window. As I tried to close the car door, one of them slammed it onto my leg, back and forth … It was hard to believe that what was happening was actually happening. It was a scary experience.”
As for those involved with ‘The Good Man’, Northern Ireland Screen Chairman Rick Hill and CEO Richard Williams released a statement in which they lamented this “unprovoked attack on a group of young men who were part of the growing positive story of Northern Ireland’s burgeoning creative industries.”
It is not yet known if this attack will have any effect on the production of ‘The Good Man’, a film by Phil Harrison which tells the story of a man whose life is turned upside down when he becomes responsible for the death of a stranger in an unfortunate accident.