A homophobic motive is being suspected after a 38-year-old woman was attacked in Northern Ireland with a cordless drill.

The woman was attacked at 2 am on 5 May in the town of Strabane. She has sustained a serious head injury, but her condition is described as critical but stable.

Police have arrested and charged a 17-year-old boy with causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He has also been charged with possession of an offensive weapon in public and theft. The Police Service of Northern Ireland have confirmed that the boy was arrested a short distance from the scene of the crime.

He is expected to appear in the Omagh Magistrates’ Court tomorrow.

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Detective Sergeant Brian Reid said: “This was a brutal attack and the injuries sustained by the victim are extremely grave.

“We are exploring a possible homophobic motive for the crime and we are appealing for witnesses to get in touch with us.

“We would like to hear from anyone who may have  seen a male carrying a drill in the area at around the time of the assault and we would especially like to speak to anyone who may have captured footage, either on mobile phone or dashcam.

“Anyone with such footage or any other information that could assist the investigation is asked to contact police in Strabane on 101, quoting reference number 153 05/05/18.

“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.

“At this time we are satisfied that a single attacker was involved in this incident.”

Daniel McCrossan MLA, who represents the wider area in the Northern Irish Assembly said: “I am absolutely horrified by this assault. This kind of sickening behaviour has no place in society.

“I would ask the community to give the PSNI the space they need to carry out their investigation swiftly and throughly. I would also appeal to anyone who may have information about this assault to contact crimestoppers immediately.

“My thoughts are with the victim and her family.”