WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
A gang of bullies nailed a plank of wood into the head of an autistic boy as he walked home from visiting his grandmother.
Romeo Smith, nine, from Mansfield, was approached by the group who were waving sticks and calling him cruel names he climbed a tree to try and escape, the Daily Mail reports.
But when he tried to make his way home one of the yobs threw a plank of wood at him with a large nail protruding.
The piece of wood hit the youngster at the back of his head and the nail embedded itself into his skull.
Mother Natasha, 30, a nurse, had been walking home with Romeo and her three other children after calling at her mother's house nearby when Romeo was targeted.
"Romeo had lagged slightly behind," said Natasha at the family home in Mansfield, Notts.
"It's usual for him to trail behind me a bit, he does it a lot because of his autism and it's something I'm used to him doing.
"He likes to stop and look at things. So I was ahead of him slightly."
When she got home Natasha realised Romeo wasn't behind her so his father Craig, 35, immediately went to check on him.
He found the Chelsea fan minutes away from the family's home, trapped in a tree by three boys who were brandishing sticks and were calling him cruel names and taunts.
As his dad approached Romeo came down but as the pair walked away one of the boys picked up a plank of wood which had a nail attached to it and threw it at the youngster.
A one inch section of the nail embedded itself in the back of Romeo's head with the wood still attached. His dad carried him home and Natasha decided it was too dangerous to remove it on case it caused further injuries.
Romeo was taken to Manfield King's Mill Hospital where doctors gave him morphine and removed the nail which had bent as it hit his skull.
Natasha added: "My partner was terrified, and I was so upset but Romeo has been so brave. He is a very lucky little boy because it could have been more serious. He has been given some antibiotics because the nail was so dirty, it was covered in bugs. The doctors were really amazing and he seems fine now but it was a horrible thing to happen.
"I don't know whether it had anything to do with his autism, but I think they did see him as vulnerable.
"If I could speak to the boys responsible I would tell them to stop bullying others. I would tell them to stop the name calling and the violence. I don't want this to happen to another child."