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Teen left sobbing on floor after being 'attacked and degraded' for 'looking different'

Emilea Hilton, 14, was allegedly verbally abused by a gang of teenagers while she met pals at Parsonage Retail Park in Leigh, Greater Manchester, for the first time since lockdown

By Helena Vesty

16:37, 30 AUG 2020 Updated16:43, 30 AUG 2020

A teenager was allegedly attacked by a gang of teenagers for 'looking different', her mum has claimed.  Emilea Hilton, 14, was reportedly cruelly taunted by a gang of teenagers while with friends at Parsonage Retail Park in Leigh, Greater Manchester, on Wednesday.  Emilea was verbally abused by the group, who singled her out for wearing dark clothes and having dyed hair.  According to the teenager's mum, Nicola Hilton, her daughter and pals were first approached by a teenage girl and a boy on a bike, before more teenagers arrived shortly afterwards.  She was called a 'goth' and was shoved into a table, Nicola claimed.  "Emilea left at 1pm happy, she got herself ready her black, leather skirt, netted tights, Doc Martens," Nicola told the Manchester Evening News.

"Everything was fine like always. When she came home and went through the ordeal, my heart was broken.  There was a girl and a lad on a bike, they went to Emilea and her friends and said 'what do you think you're wearing? Why are you dressed like that?'."

The mum added: "Then from nowhere, 10 more appeared and backed the girl up.  Emilea and her friends ran to Costa Coffee, but the gang followed them and just carried on.  The things they shouted 'you're a goth, look at your hair, do you want a hairbrush?'  They all stood laughing and they pushed her onto the table and shouted at her 'show us your wrists'. They carried on laughing and taunting her while she was on the floor crying.  She was made to lift up her sleeves to show the crowd. They said to my daughter's friends 'why are you hanging around with her and look at that?'.  Just horrible things they did to her, she had to go through them for about 30 minutes as they followed her around.  It was probably the worst half an hour of her life."

The incident has left Emilea distraught, Nicola said.  "I think this will torment her now she's already told me that she doesn't want to go out again," she added.

"The minute she got in the house, she got my straighteners and started straightening her hair. She's got curly hair, she's never used them in her life. This has really affected her.  They have gone out to target girls who look different to embarrass and degrade them.  I'm just so upset for her, I've not slept because I've been so worried about how it's going to affect my daughter.  It's not the physical things, when they pushed her to the ground, it's the embarrassment she felt when they all laughed and targeted her for the way she looks because she was in dark clothes and her hair is died.  They called her a goth and they targeted her because she dressed differently.  She does dress differently, but I've always encouraged her to wear what she wants. She's very clever, loves science and wants to be a vet.  It's pure evil what they have done."

Nicola said police are investigating.  Greater Manchester Police has been contacted for comment.