THE granddad of a 12-year-old boy hit with a hammer and knifed in the back by thug teenagers said the yobs had taunted his family for months.
The schoolboy was airlifted to the Royal Free Hospital in London following the shocking attack on Mayfair Avenue in Pitsea, Essex, yesterday.
It is understood the knife narrowly missed the boy's lung, but he is now expected to make a full recovery and could return home as soon as this evening.
Four teenagers, a girl and three boys, all aged 14, have been arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm and remain in custody.
Speaking to The Sun, the boy's granddad, 78 – who cannot be named for legal reasons – said the youngster had been left 'badly shaken' by the attack.
He said: "They’ve been targeting the whole family for months, throwing rocks at the windows, shouting abuse out in the street.
"They’ve had to have cameras put in at the house already.
"“I don’t know why they’ve been picking on him [the boy], although this is the first time anything as serious as this has happened.
"It’s sickening. We’re all very badly shaken by it.
"One of them hit him over the head with a hammer and the other one stabbed him in the back.
"It’s shocking for young kids to be so violent.
"He could be leaving hospital today and thankfully it looks like he’s going to make a full recovery."
Police today said the attack came following a 'verbal disagreement' and the boy was lucky not to have been more seriously hurt.
A family member of the arrested girl said her family were 'disgusted' by the attack.
She said: "We're disgusted by what's happened, we just hope the boy's OK.
"We don't want to speak for her, she's out of control."
The boy was attacked in an alleyway, where he is said to have been cornered by yobs before being set upon.
Shocked residents described seeing the alleyway covered in blood as an air ambulance landed nearby.
One neighbour, who lives near two of the arrested boys but asked not to be named, saw the suspects being arrested minutes later.
He said: "I saw them being led into the police car, they must have run off after the stabbing.
"They looked like they couldn’t have cared less.
“That alleyway’s known for drug dealing, there are kids aged 12,13,14 out there dealing for the older ones because if they get caught there’s no consequences.
“The two boys in particular are notorious around here for causing problems like robberies and vandalising cars.
“They’re your worst nightmare when you live in a place like this.”
Police are still appealing for witnesses to the attack, which took place in broad daylight at around 2pm, to come forward.
Detective Inspector Sophie Hammonds, of Essex Police said: “[The boy] is now in a stable condition in hospital, where he is being kept in as a precaution.
“It’s fortunate his injury was not more serious and we remain in touch with the victim and his family.
“We are progressing our investigation into the circumstances behind the incident and four teenagers remain in custody for questioning.
“At this stage we believe the victim was assaulted by people known to him following a verbal disagreement.”
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