'I knew if I didn't get him out he'd be dead' - stab victim's girlfriend
The girlfriend of a man left fighting for his life after a violent stabbing has revealed that the couple were lured to a party by men who then launched the vicious assault.
Jessie Connell (20) dragged partner Jamie Hennessy (22) from a house in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, while two men repeatedly knifed him in the neck and head on Saturday, August 19.
She was hit during the terrifying ordeal but managed to save Mr Hennessy's life by wrapping her jacket around his neck and shielding him from the assailants.
Describing the moments after the assault, Ms Connell said: "We were in a pool of Jamie's blood.
"The people who did this didn't even try run from the scene. I'll stand in court if I have to pin those scumbags to a wall."
Mr Hennessy has confounded medics and his family by waking from a coma, despite being left in a critical condition.
His mother Sandra had been keeping a vigil by his bedside, and last week said his life was hanging in the balance.
She asked for friends and family to pray for his recovery, fearing he may die following the death of his brother John, who was killed in a car crash in 1998.
Doctors fought for more than 24 hours to stop the bleeding from his neck and Mr Hennessy remained on a ventilator at the Mater Hospital in Dublin over the weekend. "Jamie woke up tonight on his own. Still on life support but he is awake and he knows us. So happy right now," Sandra wrote on her Facebook page.
Ms Connell, who is still traumatised by the events of nine days ago, has visited Jamie a number of times in the capital and says he is "improving day by day".
However, the Laois man faces a long road to recovery.
Ms Connell said, before the attack, they wanted to return to their home in Athy, Co Kildare, after visiting Mr Hennessy's mother in Crettyard, Co Laois.
They were struggling to find a lift and "meanwhile these boys were ringing Jamie to go out to Castlecomer for a few drinks", she said.
Not realising that they were in any danger, the couple walked 8km from Crettyard to the house on Love Lane in the Kilkenny town, where they shared a two-litre bottle of cider.
They left to buy more drink and returned to the house some time later. "Little did we know they were planning on taking Jamie's life," said Ms Connell.
"We got back with our drink and sat there, drank a bottle or two, and that's when it happened. I never saw so much blood in my life.
"They didn't just stab him, they slit his throat and left him to die. I pulled Jamie out of the house away from them. There were two attacking him while the other one was trying to help.
"I got hit myself but I knew if I didn't get Jamie out he was dead."
Three men were arrested in connection with the stabbing but all were released without charge. One of the men was previously arrested for the cold case murder of Gerry Nolan, while a second man was arrested over the fatal stabbing of Kieran Monahan in 2012.