A gang of bullies impaled an autistic child's head with a rusty nail covered in bugs that pierced through to his skull during an unprovoked attack in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. Nine-year-old Romeo Smith was walking home from his grandmother's house when the thugs cornered him against a tree and began hitting him with sticks and taunting him.

Chelsea fan Romeo was forced to climb up the tree to protect himself – but that didn't stop the bullies. Eventually, his dad came to the rescue and shooed the gang away, allowing Romeo to climb down and head home.

But as he did so, one of the bullies lobbed a piece of wood at him, which had a large filthy nail covered in bugs sticking out of it. It pierced the back of his head an inch deep stopping only when it hit his skull, which caused the nail to bend due to the speed of impact.

"If I could speak to the boys responsible I would tell them to stop bullying others," his mother Natasha, a nurse, told the Daily Mail. "I would tell them to stop the name calling and the violence. I don't want this to happen to another child."

Natasha and Romeo's dad wisely decided not to remove the nail and rushed their shaken child to Mansfield King's Mill Hospital where doctors sedated him and took it out. He was given antibiotics because it was so filthy but thankfully he has not suffered an infection.

"I was so upset but Romeo has been so brave. He is a very lucky little boy because it could have been more serious," Natasha said.

She explained that the incident started when she was walking home with Romeo from his grandmother's house. "Romeo had lagged slightly behind," she said. "'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," she added.

However, when she got home she realised that Romeo was no longer close behind and could not be seen at all. Romeo's dad immediately rushed out and found Romeo hiding up a tree as his tormentors waited underneath. "I don't know whether it had anything to do with his autism," said Natasha. "But I think they did see him as vulnerable."