Four British teens were taken into custody for allegedly dumping flour and eggs on an unsuspecting woman sitting on a bench last week.
The East Anglian Daily Times reported that the attack occurred in Bury St. Edmunds Friday afternoon and has gained widespread attention after images showing the aftermath were posted to social media. A police spokesperson said the victim is a woman in her 40s whom the teenagers attacked her following a verbal altercation.
“The woman was severely distressed by the incident but was physically unharmed,” a police spokesman told the newspaper.
Two 17-year-old boys and two 15-year-old boys were reportedly arrested and released on bail pending further investigation. The Independent indicated that the teens were initially arrested for their protection—as authorities feared they would be subject to vigilante justice as the images spread on social media.
A stepmother of one of the accused teens recently told the Daily Mail that repeated threats have put the teen’s upcoming 16th birthday party in jeopardy.
“We can’t say anything about what went on over the weekend but my son’s name has been leaked over the internet and we’ve had threats,” she told the tabloid. “I’ve reported the abuse to police and we are now under their protection. If anyone comes to our home to cause problems, we have a number we can call which will get the police here straight away.”
Additionally, a father of one of the teens claimed he marched his son right to the police station upon learning of his possible involvement in the attack.
“He didn’t throw any of the flour or eggs on that woman, he just joined the others in posing for the photograph,” the father explained. “He wasn’t arrested but he did give a statement.”
While the image circulating on social media made the unverified claim that the woman was disabled, the Daily Mail confirmed that the woman is battling some sort of mental illness. A witness to the attack claimed the woman was having a “breakdown” at the park and yelled at the boys, which led them to pelt her with eggs and dump flour on her.
“I don’t consider it acceptable but I don’t particularly want to escalate the current tension in the area,” the woman said, adding that she was to meet with cops later.
“I’ve got to be careful with how I deal with things obviously.”
[Featured Image: Snapchat]