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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 August, 2003, 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK
Rival gangs blamed for flame attack
Marilyn Manson
Mark's t-shirt featured American singer Marilyn Manson
A teenager says he was attacked with a burning liquid because he wore a t-shirt featuring American rock singer Marilyn Manson.

Mark Burdis, 17, suffered serious burns to his face, neck, chest and hands, when burning liquid was thrown over his head after a night out.

Police are hunting a group of youths, who the teenager claims belong to a rival group of music and culture fans known as Charvers.

Mark is part of a group called Goths, known for their extravagant make-up and who listen to performers like Manson.

From his hospital bed on Tyneside, the teenager condemned his attackers as "having no remorse" as they watched him roll on the ground trying to extinguish flames.

He said: "I think they went for me because I am a Goth and was wearing a Marilyn Manson t-shirt.

"I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"I was attacked because we are different from them [Charvers].

"We are classed as alternative and they call us stinking freaks.

"There's a lot of trouble about Newcastle between Goths and Charvers, the police have been involved a few times.

Mark Burdis
Mr Burdis may require plastic surgery

"It's like the old heavy metal and skinheads and like Sunderland v Newcastle."

Police say Mark was making his way home through the Quayside area of Newcastle on Monday, after a night out with two friends, when the incident took place.

At about 2300 BST on Monday they reached the New Redheugh Bridge road by the Telewest arena, when they saw smoke coming from nearby bushes and went to investigate.

After speaking briefly to a group of four or five male youths, they turned to walk away when Mr Burdis was hit by an object that set him alight.

Mark added: "They had no remorse or feelings and just watched as I burned.

"I was too weak to put out the fire myself so my friend used his hands to put them out. He suffered burns himself."

Chief Inspector Max Black, of Northumbria Police said: "All we can say at this time is that a flammable liquid was used.

"Tests are still being carried out and until then we are not saying anything further."

Detective are studying CCTV pictures from the area in an effort to trace the youths who carried out the attack.

Apart from ages, the only description of the group of youths who ran off was that they were wearing casual jackets and Rockport shoes.



The BBC James Alexander
"Stand-offs have occurred all over Britain"

Fears over teen group rivalries
07 Aug 03  |  Tyne/Wear

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