‘They have no conscience’-mother of Derry shooting victim

A distraught Louise Simpson talking about the shooting of her son, Jonathan (23) at his Brandywell home on Monday night. DER4715MC007
A distraught Louise Simpson talking about the shooting of her son, Jonathan (23) at his Brandywell home on Monday night. DER4715MC007

The mother of a 23-year-old man shot in both legs in Derry has said those who carried out the attack have “no conscience.”

Jonathan Simpson was shot in his home in the Brandywell area around 11pm on Monday night. The injuries he sustained have been described by a senior police officer in the city as potentially “life-changing.”

Mr Simpson’s mother, Louise said she received a phone call at around 10.55pm telling her that her son had been targeted.

Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle she said: “My son was lying in the hall. they had shot him on the living room floor and dragged him out to the front door and left him lying there. I thought he was dead.”

Describing the scene inside her home Louise Simpson said: “I can’t even explain it. I’ve never seen blood like it and two massive clots of blood came out of my child’s body. How can anybody do this to another person? They have no conscience whatsoever.”

The victims mother described how she told an ambulance man attending to her son that she thought he was dead but they had reassured her that he wasn’t.

“They took him over to accident and emergency but a doctor said to take him into resuscitation,” she continued.

Mrs Simpson also said she could not thank ambulance crew, staff at Altnagelvin and the police for their assistance.

The seriousness of Jonathan Simpson’s injuries however meant that a decision was taken to transfer him to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. He remains there and to date there are no further updates on his condition or the true extent of the injuries.

Whilst refuting that her son had been selling drugs, Louise Simpson said: “He was taking them, I was giving him the money for them. That’s the gospel truth.”

The mother also said that her son had been threatened on previous occasions but she did not know who had issued the threats.

Speaking about those responsible for the attack however, she said: “They have no conscience. My child is in the Royal Victoria. How could anybody do that to a mother, or a father or a grandfather or uncles-to go what I am going through.”

Derry’s most senior police officer, Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan said: “This was even by the brtual standards of previous similar attacks in this city and other parts of Northern Ireland, this was particularly savage. And, early indications are that the injuries are very serious and maybe life-changing injuries to his legs.”

Chief Inspector Callaghan said the fact that the young man was shot in the upper thighs close to the femural artery could have resulted in him dying because of severe blood loss.

“What I understand from the scene is that the ambulance service did a tremendous job in saving this young man’s life because I think the lifeblood was pumping from him. I am not sure what message those involved were looking to send but they wanted to do maximum damage to this young man,” said Inspector Callaghan.

Police stated that they believe the weapon used in the attack was a handgun and that the assailants made their getaway from the scene on foot. Police also said that they had conducted crime scene investigations at the site of the shooting and have taking forensics from the scene as well as conducting door to door interviews in the area. They also said they are aware that a number of people were in the area at the time of the shooting and asked anyone with information about the incident to contact them at Strand Road or anonymously via Crimestoppers, or alternatively through community representatives.

Sinn Fein Councillor Kevin Campbell described the “attack as brutal in its nature.”

“We have been calling for a long, long time now for an end to these type of attacks. They don’t serve any purpose and to be honest they brutalise the individual and they brutalise the community which they come from,” he said.

Colr Campbell also said the attack appeared to be a new departure from previous attacks because of the severity of the injuries inflicted and the fact they left the victim close to death.

He said: “There are people who think that this is rough justice, but it is not needed he said.”