Five people have been charged with a suspected hate crime after a 17-year-old asylum seeker was beaten in a “brutal attack” in Croydon.
The 17-year-old and two friends were waiting at a bus stop in Shrublands Avenue, near The Goat pub, at about 11.40pm on Friday when they were approached by a group of people.
The teenager, who is Kurdish Iranian, was subjected to a “brutal” attack including “repeated blows to the head”, police said, after the group discovered he was an asylum seeker.
He was left with a fractured skull and a blood clot on his brain but is said to be “starting to make a recovery” in hospital.
His two friends managed to escape with minor injuries.
Detectives investigating the assault believe between 20 to 30 people were involved.
Eleven people have been arrested, including one woman who handed herself in.
Five of these – Daryl Davis, 20, Danyelle Davis, 24, Barry Potts, 20, George Walder, 20, and Jack Walder, 24 – all from Croydon – have now been charged with violent disorder and are due to appear in court today.
George Walder is additionally charged with racially aggravated grievous bodily harm.
Two men are still being sought in connection with the assault.
Officers also want to trace the occupants of a white hatchback vehicle with a black roof.
Police are continuing to appeal for information and for witnesses to the attack, which is being treated as a suspected hate crime.
Detective Superintendent Jane Corrigan told Sky News: “This is a hate crime. The victims were set upon because they were asylum seekers – that was specifically mentioned during the attack.
“I haven’t seen an attack like this in a number of years, certainly nothing in London. It was just appalling.
“The level of violence used was just unnecessary and just shows a real hatred with those involved.”
She said the victim was “starting to make a recovery”, adding: “We are confident that we will identify and arrest everybody involved in this ferocious attack.”
Croydon Central MP and Conservative minister Gavin Barwell described the attackers as “scum”.
He said it was “an appalling crime” and “completely out of character” for Croydon, which he said generally had “very good relations between people of different backgrounds”.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan also condemned the attack, saying hate crime “has no place in London, Britain or anywhere else”, while the Refugee Council said it was “disgusted”.