Hi gang – the amazing thing was that when this happened there was NEWS everywhere, but when it turned out it wasn’t… well he and family seemed to be much quieter. Hmmm, more formal apologies to the Irish are need I feel.
By Anne-Marie Walsh
Thursday March 27 2008
A young man’s claim that his finger was torn off during a vicious racist attack on St Patrick’s Day has been dramatically disproved.
English tourist Guy Wallace’s bloodied finger was found on top of a serrated railing in Dublin’s city centre yesterday.
Eyewitnesses said the finger looked like a “burnt sausage” when it was removed from a steel fence surrounding an office car park.
Gardai made the gruesome discovery around 11.30am on Britain Place after CCTV footage showed the schoolboy trying to climb the jagged barrier.
The little finger from his right hand lay hidden for nine days in a gap on a steel bar that runs through the fence, and is impossible to see unless you stand back on the road.
It was positioned a few inches from sharp prods at the top of the eight-foot railing outside the Eircom building, which fronts onto Marlborough Street.
The finger’s position at the top of the fence meant it had evaded sniffer dogs that had scoured the area for days.
Mr Wallace (17) claimed last week that he was attacked by a gang who callously ignored his desperate pleas for mercy.
He said the men had become aggressive after he told them he was English.
Despite attempts to offer them money, he said they ripped off his finger by placing it on a kerb and jumping on it.
He has since had surgery at a hospital in Plymouth but a re-attachment was impossible as his finger could not be found.
Last night, Guy’s father William Wallace, a Conservative Party councillor in Somerset, and his mother, Lucy, insisted that their son had genuinely believed he lost his finger in an assault.
“On the night of March 17, Guy had split up from his friends, he was lost and very frightened after suffering an assault in a fast food restaurant where he received a headbutt,” they said in a statement.
“Due to this assault, he was sufficiently traumatised to link the event with the terrible accident that took place minutes later and genuinely believed that he had lost his finger in that assault.
“However, in reality it seems that during his panic-stricken run from the incident he attempted to climb a metal fence, which resulted in the loss of his finger.
“All we want to do now is concentrate on Guy’s recovery from this terrible ordeal.”
A senior member of the security staff at Eircom House said its 800 staff were terrified that a bomb had been found in the building after gardai began to comb the area yesterday.
Billy Nagle said he rushed outside and saw gardai remove the finger in a glass container.
“From a distance, it looked like a burnt sausage and was shrivelled up,” said Mr Nagle, facilities manager at Eircom House.
“That finger has been out there for over six days up high on a railing where he was trying to get in. It slipped down off the railings and got caught in a bar near the top.”
He did not believe gardai would have found the finger if they had not searched the CCTV footage.
“There were sniffer dogs here nearly two weeks ago and a female garda looked at the footage before last weekend but she searched the wrong part of the railing.”
It is understood that there was “panic” during the afternoon after gardai discovered that the CCTV recordings are automatically wiped every few days and they only had hours to transfer it.
Detectives said Guy was drinking in Temple Bar before he was involved in a minor altercation at McDonald’s on O’Connell Street around 8pm.
CCTV footage picked him up running down O’Connell Street before gardai came upon him holding his bloodied hand on North Cumberland Street.
Gardai arrested a youth (17) last Wednesday who was later released without charge and a file was sent to the DPP.
“Gardai investigating the alleged serious assault are now satisfied that the injured party lost part of his finger while attempting to scale a fence in a laneway off Parnell Street, Dublin,” said a spokesperson yesterday.
“Investigations are continuing regarding a minor assault which took place earlier in the O’Connell Street area.”