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"Why would someone do this?": Police investigate as boy's neck cut after cycling into wire hung across path next to school

"He rode straight into it cutting across his neck and causing him to fall backwards off his bike [...] we do feel it was a deliberate act set out to cause serious harm."...

An 11-year-old boy is "very shaken up" and suffered cuts to his neck after riding into a wire strung across a path next to his school as he cycled home from Scouts.

The boy was pulled from his bike backwards, his helmet cracked by the impact with the road, and left with cutting across his neck by the act his father says they "do feel was deliberate to cause serious harm".

Boy injured after cycling into wire strung across path (Corin Earland/Facebook)

Corin Earland posted pictures of his son's injuries on Facebook and warned of the shocking incident, which happened on Monday evening as the boy cycled home along the path between his school, Heyford Park, and the Heyford Park Innovation Centre on East Castle Street.

Boy injured after cycling into wire strung across path (Corin Earland/Facebook)

"He rode straight into it cutting across his neck and causing him to fall backwards off his bike, fortunately he was wearing his helmet correctly so that took the brunt of the fall damage," Mr Earland said.

"He is a very shaken up 11-year-old boy. If anyone has any CCTV footage of people acting suspiciously in the area around that time it would be appreciated.

"Why would someone do this? It could have caused a very serious injury if it had been anchored better."

Boy injured after cycling into wire strung across path (Corin Earland/Facebook)

The wire has since been removed and Thames Valley Police is investigating. The path was clear when the boy cycled to Scouts a couple of hours before the incident, so the family believes it was strung up that evening and questioned Dorchester Living, the developer of Heyford Park, about a "growing trend" of anti-social behaviour.

"The developers Dorchester Living is aware but seem unwilling to provide any provisions for teenagers. There was a youth club building a few years back but that has been knocked down and no alternative space provided," the father told the Oxford Mail.

A spokesperson for the developer said it had been in contact with the family and called the incident a "very rare" act of vandalism "with malicious intent".

"We are very concerned by this act of anti-social behaviour which is now being investigated by the police," they commented. "We have been in contact with the child’s family concerning their welfare. The health and safety of residents and staff has and always will be our number one priority.

"We want to assure the residents of Heyford Park that this incident was not a result of building contractors leaving the area in an unsafe manner, but due to an act of vandalism seemingly by persons with malicious intent, and we are supporting the police with their investigation.

"We have invested in and improved facilities considerably since our ownership. We have spent in excess of £30m on new facilities including play areas, sports pitches, a bowling alley, indoor sports hall, indoor performance drama studio, IT and art rooms, as well as building a new all-through school to provide children of all ages with activities for advancing themselves and socialising across Heyford Park.

"Further provisions will come forward as Heyford Park continues to grow. We very much hope the child affected by the incident recovers quickly and will work tirelessly with parent groups, local schools and other community groups to help reduce the risk of any repeat incident."

Thames Valley Police is investigating and has asked anyone with information to contact the force on 101 or make a report online, quoting reference number: 43240057495.

Depressingly we have reported an increase in cyclists being injured by wire traps, often strung across bridleways or off-road routes, in recent times. In July, Wiltshire Police said potential injuries could have been "catastrophic" after a 14-year-old mountain biker rode into a barbed wire trap strung between two trees at Salisbury Plain.

Perhaps most shockingly was an incident in December 2021, in the Rhondda Valley, which left a cyclist needing 17 stitches in their neck after riding into a barbed wire trap on a trail near Gelli.

*WARNING: Reader discretion advised, graphic images*

Neck Injury via toe_cutter_71 on Instagram

Other injuries and near misses have been reported across the United Kingdom, a Berkshire cyclist fortunately able to stop in time after spotting this rope and bramble trap on a popular bridleway in September.

Rope and bramble trap on Knowl Hill Bridleway (John A, Twitter)

In February 2023, a North Wales cyclist was seriously injured, and suffered broken ribs and collarbones, by a length of wire strung across a cycle path.

Wire trap (via Ian Davies on Twitter)

Around the same time, police in Staffordshire warned cyclists and walkers to be "extra vigilant" after a similar wire trap was found at Cannock Chase forest, an area popular with mountain bikers.

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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23 comments

Avatar
Bigtwin | 2 weeks ago
2 likes

This happened to me once, outside the house of a woman who didn’t like cyclists riding on the bridleway there.  I was quite badly injured and the Police were involved. They parked in her drive, knocked on the door and she refused to answer.  They said there was “nothing they can do”, and that was the end of that.

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Dnnnnnn replied to Bigtwin | 2 weeks ago
1 like

I suppose it's quite hard to prove she was culpable without compelling evidence (was there?). Once the cops have copped out, though, it might be one to go to the local media with. The publicity might put her off trying anything like that again (or maybe it would lead to a crowdfunder for her and copycat efforts?)

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Car Delenda Est | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

No doubt put up near a school to catch those "lycra clan nonces" I've heard so much about..

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ktache replied to Car Delenda Est | 3 weeks ago
3 likes

The height makes it seem that it was targeted at a child.

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brooksby | 3 weeks ago
7 likes

It certainly could have been other kids "playing a prank".

But my money would be on someone much older, who's now telling his (and it will be a he) mates down the pub about how he taught those bl00dy cyclists a lesson surprise

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lio replied to brooksby | 2 weeks ago
2 likes

Why do you say it will be a he?  That seems like a rather naive and misandrist take.

There's been more than one story of older women setting traps for kids on bikes before.

Old ladies got form.

e.g. https://road.cc/content/news/pensionsers-admit-laying-traps-cyclists-n-y...

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eburtthebike | 3 weeks ago
14 likes

"Why would someone do this?"

Ask Matthew Parris:

https://road.cc/content/news/3069-what%E2%80%99s-smug-and-deserves-be-de...

Perhaps it was kids, but perhaps not, whatever, Parris and his associated bigots encouraged them.

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wtjs replied to eburtthebike | 3 weeks ago
5 likes

Ask Matthew Parris

I hadn't realised what an unpleasant excuse for a human being Parris is! No more 'Great Lives' on Radio 4 for me!

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mattsccm | 3 weeks ago
1 like

Right, I am not condoning this at all, and indeed would suggest some severe physical  punishment should be brought back for this sort of thing, but I bet it was kids, indeed younger one who did it for a laugh. Sort of thing I did to catch my mates. No real malice involved. To many people here making things out of nothing. 

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hawkinspeter replied to mattsccm | 3 weeks ago
16 likes
mattsccm wrote:

Right, I am not condoning this at all, and indeed would suggest some severe physical  punishment should be brought back for this sort of thing, but I bet it was kids, indeed younger one who did it for a laugh. Sort of thing I did to catch my mates. No real malice involved. To many people here making things out of nothing. 

And what evidence are you basing that on? I don't know why kids would be wanting to do that kind of thing as they'd be more likely to be riding a bike. There is evidence of media "opinion" pieces encouraging this - Rod Liddle of the Sunday Times being an example: https://road.cc/content/news/cycling-uk-complains-over-liddle-piano-wire-column-273789

This most definitely needs to be fully investigated as a terrorist attack and anyone involved with it should be facing 10 years in prison.

(I think Rod Liddle should be brought in for 48 hours of questioning about his whereabouts at the time and also any of his "friends")

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ROOTminus1 replied to mattsccm | 3 weeks ago
7 likes

That is no excuse.

Even as a kid I knew actions had consequences, malice or not. Luckily none of these incidents have been fatal, but it's not an unreasonable outcome from a garrotte trap. Manslaughter is still killing someone, regardless of the perpetrator's legal capacity, and if they don't realise that, parents, teachers, and society at large has failed.

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marmotte27 replied to mattsccm | 3 weeks ago
4 likes

Wow, just wow ..

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chrisonabike replied to mattsccm | 3 weeks ago
7 likes

Where do the kids get their ideas from? "Other kids, older kids" - yes, but where do *they* get their culture from?

Kids can do strange things but very often the origin can be found in what the adults (increasingly in the social meejas) do or say.

That's an uncomfortable reality if we're looking for one or two people to blame but if we want change we need to understand.

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john_smith replied to chrisonabike | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

I don't think that's entirely true. Children can be monsters, and that's got nothing at all to do with the adults around them.

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chrisonabike replied to john_smith | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

You're right, that's why we don't have a concept of parental responsibility...

The link isn't necessarily direct (also note my comment about social media) and as I said kids do odd stuff. I'm certain though that if many adults were sporty the kids would be also. Same with regard (or not) for others, or violence "for a laugh"...

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john_smith replied to chrisonabike | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Not sure if your "we don't have a concept of parental responsibilty" was mistyped or meant to be sarcastic, but in either case it misses the point. Children are monsters because that's the way they are. Obviously upbringing will have an effect. But the desire to kill things and hurt others is to some extent inborn.

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chrisonabike replied to john_smith | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Hmm... wading into deep waters here (nature / nurture, are we more akin to thuggish chimps or bonobos etc.). And cases of "but they had a loving home..." (but of course there are often plenty of secrets hidden away in families, or a childhood).

I'm leaving this one, noting that - at least taking your last sentence - we could both say there's a question of degree here?

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john_smith replied to chrisonabike | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Yes. It's also a question of age--I'm thinking more of under 10s and particularly of under 5s. By the time they've reached an age where they are able to do any "real" harm, most children will have developed some kind of conscience.

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Ratfink replied to chrisonabike | 3 weeks ago
4 likes

To be honest i was an orrible little sod and although i wouldn't have done anything like this, but when we were kids we thought nothing of going to the nearby railway bridge waiting for a cyclist and dropping an anvil or an acme safe onto them and on occasion sticks of dynamite.I have no idea if it was soceity that encouraged these actions.

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chrisonabike replied to Ratfink | 3 weeks ago
1 like

I would have been tempted by acme (pot)holes, if there had been any.

I blame cartoons. Including those penning opinion columns (often adopting the personae of little boys - mostly - who haven't grown up. Appeals to the monster in us, you might say?)

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ROOTminus1 | 3 weeks ago
15 likes

These acts aren't "vandalism". Legally it's just short of the threshold for attempted murder, but it's such a frustrating technicality.

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hawkinspeter | 3 weeks ago
10 likes

This needs to be treated as a terrorist incident and thus have considerably more resources to find whoever was responsible. Just imagine how seriously it would be treated if someone laid a wire trap for a politician?

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mctrials23 | 3 weeks ago
6 likes

Firstly, thank god he was wearing a helmet and what sort of utter scumbag do you have to be to do this? How pathetic and sad must their little lives be that this is what they get up to. They genuinely could have killed the boy. 

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