Susan Boyle, whose rags to riches story has captivated music lovers ever since her Britain’s Got Talent debut, was attacked by a gang of as many as 15 teen assailants near her home in Scotland. Boyle has been regularly victimized by attacks. The latest episode has left her “cowering in fear,” according to a spokesman. The 56-year-old singer has Asperger syndrome and has been deliberately targeted by thugs near her home in Blackburn, West Lothian. She has been subjected to regular verbal abuse, while the group also throws stones at her car. 
 
In one incident, the teens set a piece of paper alight and threw it at her when they spotted Boyle at a shopping mall, and called her an “ugly old bitch.” A witness told The Mirror that members of the gang threw stones, screamed and shouted abuse at the singer while she was riding on a bus.

Boyle has become a favorite in the United Kingdom and throughout the English-speaking world. According to the Sunday Mirror, most of the teens are boys. A spokesman for Boyle is seeking police protection for her.
 
The teens have not limited their abuse to Boyle, however. Other neighbors have reported that the gang intimidates others. The gang has set fire to a children’s park and vandalized homes. They prey upon vulnerable people such as the elderly, children, and the mentally ill.
 
Ever since Boyle achieved second place on Britain’s Got Talent back in 2009, her fame has skyrocketed. However, she still lives in the modest three-bedroom home in which she grew up. Neighbors have tried to look out for her. One neighbor said that ever since Boyle became famous, she has been targeted for abuse. The concerned neighbor said that Boyle’s condition make coping with the abuse difficult. Boyle has praised her neighbors for defending her. 
 
TV presenter Piers Morgan, who was one of the judges on the show when Boyle was discovered, described Boyle’s attackers on Twitter as “vile little vermin” who have “hounded” the star.
 
Asperger’s syndrome is a form of autism: a lifelong developmental disability that affects the persons affected process information, and relate to the world and other people. Since her debut in 2009, Boyle has performed for the Pope and Queen Elizabeth while enjoying a successful recording career. She was diagnosed in 2012.

Boyle has earned millions from her performances and recording contracts. However, she continues to live modestly. She gave a home she had built for herself to a niece. In addition, her generosity to others has included help to friends and family, paying off mortgages, and donating to various charities. 

Health problems have limited her forays from home. In addition to Asperger's, she was diagnosed as having Type 2 diabetes. Complying with doctors' orders, she lost 40 pounds. Other challenges have included the death of her sister, Bridie McCaw (73), in October. Her condition, in which stress triggers outbursts, led to being escorted from the British Airways lounge at Heathrow airport. Of that incident, she said: “It’s like being on a rollercoaster. I’m always up and down. With guidance, I can stay on a level. I have breathing ­exercises I can do."

 



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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