herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

I'm lucky to be alive, says man beaten for his phone

Danny Gallagher
Danny Gallagher

A 58-year-old man who was seriously injured in an assault over his mobile phone has said he is "lucky to be alive".

Danny Gallagher, from Derry, was rushed to hospital with serious head injuries after he was found in the Bloomfield Park area shortly after 6am on Monday.

Speaking from his hospital bed he said: "It beggars belief that a human being could do this to another human being."

He explained that he could only remember some parts of what happened as he was knocked unconscious for several hours and has lost some of his memory.

"I was walking over to see my son before he went off to work.

"I can remember being approached by this man, I think there might have been two of them but I am not sure, and he asked me for my phone.

"I told him he wasn't getting it and the next thing I know I am getting kicked in the head.

"I can't remember anything after that until I woke up in the hospital."

Mr Gallagher has extensive head injuries, stitches inside and outside his mouth, severe eye injuries and other facial wounds.

Fortunately, it appears that he has suffered no fractures of longer-term injuries.

He said: "They told me the CT scan came back clear and that the swelling in my head will eventually go down, so I suppose I can be thankful for that.

"I must have been lying there after I was attacked for four or five hours.

"I was on my way to see my son after midnight and they tell me I was found after six.

"My wife was saying that a man looking out his window, saw what he thought was a bundle of rags, but thankfully for me he checked and raised the alarm."

"I live in this area and the last thing you expect is something like this."

A 37-year-old man arrested on suspicion of involvement in the assault has since been released pending further enquires.

Mr Gallagher's wife Bridie described the attack as "horrific".

"I don't know how long he'll be in hospital but it's horrific what they've done to him," she said.

Mrs Gallagher said that when she saw her husband after the attack she did not recognise him.

"I nearly died when I saw him, his head is twice the size. He can't open his eyes - they're like two big balloons, his face is all swollen, he has a big tear and they aren't stitching that until the swelling goes down."

Mrs Gallagher said those behind the violent attack needed to be caught.

"Danny could have been killed and I can only thank the person who saw him and phoned an ambulance because they've saved his life," she said.

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