'It's a miracle Siobhan survived gun attack by garda killer', says family
The family of Siobhan Phillips said it is "a miracle" that she survived after being shot by her former partner, garda killer Adrian Crevan Mackin.
Mum-of-two Siobhan was left fighting for her life after the horrific attack in Omeath, Co Louth.
Mackin (25) also shot dead Garda Tony Golden, as he was helping Siobhan collect her belongings to leave Mackin, having endured nearly a year of physical abuse at his hands.
Mackin then turned the gun on himself in the horrifying ordeal on October 11.
Siobhan (21) has since undergone surgery to remove a bullet that had lodged in her head and has lost her right eye.
But her mother Bronagh and her aunt Lorraine said the brave woman has regained consciousness and has begun to speak.
She is slowly recovering from the ordeal, although it is still "very early days" and medics do not know how her brain has been affected.
Fortunately, the bullet that hit Siobhan's forehead never penetrated her brain.
"The bullet hit off her skull and as a result of this injury she has lost her right eye," Lorraine said.
However, after weeks of intensive care in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, Siobhan is showing signs of improvement.
"She is smiling and knows everything you are saying but she is not asking any questions. She does know everybody that comes into her."
Siobhan's family believe she has no memory of the events and the doctors "told her that she has been in an accident."
Lorraine said her niece was also shot in both arms.
"She must have had her arms up to protect herself," Lorraine said. "She was shot twice in her left arm and it ricocheted off one of her bones and there is some shrapnel embedded in her.
"It is a miracle that she is not paralysed. She seems to be getting there but it is a long road ahead of her."
While they said their dearest wish is that she will be well enough to leave hospital before Christmas, they know that is unlikely to happen.
Her family has thanked the many people who have offered support and has also extended heartfelt sympathy to the family of Garda Golden.
"I would like to thank the parish priests and the curates in Omeath and Carlingford Parish as well as Bishop Eamon Martin," Siobhan's mum Bronagh said.
She added that the Golden family has also been in touch with Siobhan and her family.
"We think about the family of Garda Golden every day," she said. "His family have been in contact and his brother came to see Siobhan in hospital, that meant so much to us."
Lorraine, who lives in Omeath, said that doctors told them that after a brain trauma, "the brain just shuts down".
"Siobhan doesn't know what has happened to her at all," she said.
"She is doing okay but we won't know the full extent [of how she is] until she really starts talking. At the moment she is not asking questions about anything."
Siobhan, who had two young children with Macken, was training to be a hairdresser in Newry.
They had known each other for five years and Lorraine said Siobhan was besotted.
Lorraine confirmed that Sunday, October 11, the day Siobhan made her first statement of complaint to Garda Golden, was also the first time she heard about the domestic violence.
"That [previous] Friday night he had battered her for hours," she said.
Lorraine believes Siobhan was trying to leave Mackin for the last year and this was the final one she would endure.
"The only person who knows what happened in the house is Siobhan," she added.
"The doctors said her memory might come back and then again it might not."