A Derry woman has spoken of her horror after her boyfriend was shot as they tried to flee the scene of a gang war shoot-out in Benidorm.
Shaun McGavigan and his partner, Julie Smyth, were strolling through the popular New Town area of the Spanish resort during a romantic break away, when a suspected ‘turf war,’ between international gang rivals erupted and four shots rang out.
As the shocked couple ran from the pandemonium along with other innocent bystanders, Shaun called out that he had been shot in the crossfire.
The incident happened at around 11pm on Wednesday, July 4.
The Strathfoyle couple said they were relieved to return to Derry last weekend after the dream holiday they had been so looking forward to turned into a living nightmare.
Shaun (41) and Julie (28) had flown to Benidorm on the Saturday prior to the shooting incident for a one week break.
“We were really looking forward to going on holiday,” Julie told the ‘Journal’ prior to leaving Benidorm.
“We were having such a good time, out enjoying the sunshine, shopping and having a few drinks. Everything was great until this happened.”
Recalling the horrific events of that night, she said: “We were in the New Town having a drink and I was a bit tired. We just got up and started to walk down the street and then this big fight just happened.
“There were 20 to 30 people fighting. They were fighting like animals. They were throwing chairs at each other and we started to run down the street.
“We then heard four shots and the second one hit Shaun on the leg. He said ‘I got shot’ and we just kept running down the street. Then I saw all the blood. It was awful.”
Julie said there were between 100m and 200m from the brawling gangs when the shots had been fired.
“I started roaring and shouting ‘ help, help, he has been shot’.”
Julie praised all those whocame to their aid, including a Welsh woman, Nadine Davies, who was in the area and applied first aid at the scene.
“They were fantastic,” she noted. “Two others came out and applied pressure to the wound but the blood just kept oozing out of him. I felt so scared.”
Spanish police then swooped into the area and cordoned off the street, while Shaun and Julie had to wait for a considerable time before an ambulance arrived to take Shaun to hospital.
“They had Shaun in the ambulance but they wouldn’t let me go in with him. I had to get a taxi on my own and the hospital was half an hour away,” Julie recalled. “When I got to the hospital they let me see him for half an hour and I then had to go back to the apartment then on my own. I was a nervous wreck and didn’t sleep at all that night with the worry.”
Shaun was one of three people who sustained injuries during the shooting incident, which is being investigated by the police.
It was discovered at the hospital that, miraculously, the bullet, which had gone straight through Shaun’s leg just above his knee, had just missed a major artery and the bones in the leg. He was discharged the following day.
“He is in severe pain. He is able to walk slowly and with a limp. We didn’t want to go out after that, we just wanted to get home,” Julie said.
The couple arrived home last weekend and Shaun received treatment at Altnagelvin Hospital.
Police in the Costa Blanca region have promised a crackdown in light of the shooting incident at the weekend.
Media in Spain and in England have been reporting that ‘stop and search’ operations are to be stepped up in the tourist hotspot New Town area on Benidorm in light of what happened.
Reports, meanwhile, suggest the shooting may have resulted from a feud between two gangland groups from different parts of the world.