Schoolboy, 12, beaten to floor in canteen as pupil shouts ‘go back to Russia’

A 12-year-old boy was beaten in his school canteen while being told to "go back to Russia" by another pupil who witnessed the attack.

Edward Purgailis, from Latvia, was trying to eat his lunch at Hillside High School in Bootle, Liverpool, when he was repeatedly punched in the head.

The year 7 pupil was knocked to the floor as he bravely tried to protect his head from the blows.

Merseyside Police are now investigating the incident which occurred on Wednesday, May 15 at 11am.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo with his mum Olga Smeleiva's permission, Edward said: "It was when I was leaving with my food to go to the playground.

"This guy said I was talking about him, and kicked me in the dinner hall. I turned round (and) I was pretty mad.

"I asked him why he did it and told him to leave me alone so I pushed him away.

"He hit me harder and faster – my hands have got bruises on from when I was attacked while lying on the floor.

"He was hitting me in the head with his fists – he hit me 17 times.

"When teachers came, he disappeared.

"He attacked me because he thought I was saying something to teachers about him.

"He kept on saying about me talking trash about him."

Edward remembered hearing a shout of "Go back to Russia, you scum," from a group of pupils who gathered to watch the bust-up.

The schoolboy, who is now sufferring regular headaches , had a CT scan to check he hadn't sustained any brain trauma.

He was left with bruises or cuts on his forehead, nose, hands and back.

Mum-of-two Olga, 34, who also has a 14-month-old daughter, said he family had lived in Bootle for the past six years.

They left the Latvian capital Riga to come to Merseyside for better work prospects.

Olga is currently off work to care for her baby daughter, but previously worked in a sushi factory in Crosby.

Edward, who has exams later this week so will return to school, added: "When I touch my head, it hurts like hell.

"I feel upset. I don't want to go back to school."

A Merseyside Police spokesman said: "We can confirm that an investigation is ongoing following the assault of a teenager at a school in Bootle yesterday, Tuesday 14 May.

"At around 11.15am, emergency services were called to Hillside High School in Church Gardens to reports of an assault of a 13-year-old boy.

"The victim was reportedly punched in the head, and was taken to hospital for assessment of a head injury.
"He has since been discharged.

"Enquiries are ongoing alongside the school and anyone with information can contact @MerPolCC or 101 with reference 381 of 14 May."

The matter has not as yet been classed as a hate crime because officers still have to speak to Edward to get a statement about what happened.

Mrs Amanda Ryan, headteacher from Hillside, said: "We are aware of an incident that took place.

"We are in touch with both sets of parents and we are completing a thorough investigation in accordance with the school's policies."

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