An asylum seeker in Northern Ireland tried to set himself on fire outside Belfast City Hall last week, but was prevented from doing so by brave passers-by. The incident was filmed by school children.

James McMahon, an emergency medical technician from Newtownabbey, County Antrim was on his way to catch a train when he saw the man pour gasoline on himself and start a small fire.

The man had begun starting a blaze near a bench and also doused some bystanders in gasoline.

A group of schoolgirls filmed the incident.

He doused himself in flammable liquid, telling people: "I'm going to set myself on fire, this state hates me."

No one seemed to think he was serious until he approached the flames then teenager Paul Russell pushed the man to the ground before he could harm himself.

McMahon also moved to help, "I noticed they were starting to get into more of a fight.

"I was about to call the police, I'd dialled 999 and I noticed the foreign gentleman had fallen. I dropped my bags and my iPhone on the floor and ran from the far end of City Hall at the gates.

"I said 'I'm a medic move back', and I put the guy on the floor.

"I took his right arm and put it behind his back and held it there.

The man was removed to hospital.