An elderly woman with limited mobility and her mentally ill son have relived the horror of a St Patrick’s night bottle attack which left them scarred for life.
Patrick O’Hagan (51) and his mother Bernadette (76) were just yards from their Creggan home when a drunken youth hurled an alcohol bottle at them. The bottle struck Patrick, who suffers from schizophrenia, with such force that it smashed on impact causing gash which gushed with blood. Part of the smashed bottle lodged in his mother’s head, just behind her left ear.
Patrick had been helping his mother, who moves with the help of a walking aid, to his sister Stella’s car after the family had just celebrated Mother’s Day in Bernadette’s home at Greenwalk. Patrick explained: “There was a group of wains standing around and we know the local wains who are always very nice and wished us well. They even admired mammy’s earrings. The next thing I saw some fella who is not from this part of Creggan. It all happened so fast, he had his hand over his shoulder and the next thing s he threw something at me. The bottle smashed on my forehead and I was in shock for while before the blood started gushing out.”
He added: “I’ve been scarred for life. He’s left me scarred so that everytime I look in the mirror I remember the shock of it. I suffer from schizophrenia and I’m on medication for that - now I’m getting flashbacks of the event, I can actually see the bottle flying through the air again and again.”
Bernadette, who had a double heart bypass several years ago, has hip problems and diabetes, also felt a stinging pain as the glass hit her on the head. “I was more worried about Patrick with all the blood running down his face. Then I put my hand to my ear and saw that I was bleeding as well.”
Patrick received nine stitches to a large gash on his forehead while his mother was given a staple for her wound.
Stella, who had gone to get her car - which was parked nearby - said some of the drunken youths were as young as 14. “All I heard was the thump, it was a quite a noise.”
She added: “Usually the kids are lovely around here but some of them there that night were not from the locality. It is sickening that a young thug would stoop so low,” she added.
Two ambulances were tasked to the scene to remove the injured mother and son while the culprit made his getaway.
Police are investigating the incident which happened at around 8.30pm on St Patrick’s Day