East Kilbride schoolgirl beaten and hair 'set alight' by gang terrorising town

The mum of an East Kilbride schoolgirl has opened up on her heartbreak after he daughter was subject to an unprovoked attack by a gang of youths that left her needing hospital attention.

The music-loving 16-year-old had been leaving a recording session at Universal Connections near the Dollan Baths in the town at around 6.20pm on June 24, last year, when a dozen teens and pre-teens circled her as she left for a break to enjoy the sun. The gang launched a sickening attack which only ended when a teenage boy told the girls to stop or they would 'kill her'.

Tanith Bavaird was left with bloody missing chunks of hair, ripped clothes and bruises on her face and body after the gang of around 12 repeatedly hit her head off a kerb as they kicked, punched and stamped on the defenceless teen before trying to set her hair on fire.

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Mum Sharon Bavaird, 48, has bravely spoken out about the attack following a spate of incidents allegedly involving the same gang which has left parents terrified. Speaking to Glasgow Live she described the moment that her daughter phoned her in hysterics following the attack, she said: "I froze when I picked up the phone, she was in hysterics.

"I told her to go to the police station which is close and I would get a taxi from work to meet her there. When I got there I was heartbroken, she has lovely thick hair and chunks had been ripped out of them, she was red and bleeding from the cuts and her clothes were falling apart from where they had been ripped.

"She told me that they circled her while the ringleader approached and grabbed her by the hair before pulling her to the ground while the rest started kicking, punching and stamping on her. I think it was only the fact that she had washed her hair that morning that saved her because they tried to light her hair on fire but it wouldn't light.

"She doesn't know how long it lasted because of the shock but I think they would have seriously hurt her or worse if the teenage boy who she had went to nursery with hadn't come over and pulled them off her. He was a hero that night.

"When it all healed you could see that there were actually footprints on her legs and back. As a mum to see your daughter in that state its horrendous.

"Even now I still get upset and shake with anger every time I think of what they did to her, she was just a random person to them, she wasn't hurting anyone. She was just trying to get home.

Tanith was taken to hospital where it was found that she had a concussion and was kept overnight to make sure she was okay. Following the incident, police confirmed four girls between 13 and 15 had been reported and referred to the Scottish Children's reporter.

Tanith had to undergo counselling following the attack which came as she was dealing with the death of her gran from cancer. The mum says the bubbly straight-A student's confidence was ruined by the attack and the continued threats and abuse.

She continued: "It's shattered her confidence. It's almost like she is a prisoner in her own home because she has to get the bus to go places and there is always a chance she'll see them.

"It's also left me a worried mess because every time she steps out the door now I think it's going to happen again, I make her message me that she got to school safe. I make her text me every hour that she is okay because I'm so scared they attack her from behind or knock her out and really hurt her.

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"These kids believe they are untouchable because of their age."

Sharon set up the East Kilbride support group for parents after she posted on social media about what happened to her daughter and was inundated with messages from other parents. Since setting up the group, it has attracted hundreds of parents sharing their own stories.

She continued: "I feel like we're all being ignored about this. Kids are terrified to go about their own town for fear of getting attacked.

"Children should have the right to feel safe Not just that, the kids who are involved in these incidents clearly need help.

"The violence is only escalating. Is it going to take someone's daughter being killed for police and the authorities to act?"

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "Officers are aware of recent incidents involving groups of youths within East Kilbride committing assaults and recording these acts on mobile phones.

"Four female youths aged between 13 and 15 have been traced and reports have been submitted to the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration."

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