'I'm glad to be alive' - ear torture victim
These are the horrific injuries inflicted on a young man forced to eat part of his own ear.
Brendan Higginbotham (21) feared he would die as he was tortured by a gang of thugs.
During the attack in Newbridge Co Kildare, he was repeatedly beaten with a lump hammer and iron bars.
The men also sliced off part of his ear before forcing him to eat it.
"I'm just glad I'm alive," he said today.
His legs are cut, bruised and swollen as he was kneecapped in the assault.
His face is scarred and 14 stitches are visible along his cheek. His head had to stapled after it was split open in the attack.
The victim says he is in constant pain and lives in such fear since the attack that he will not be reporting it to gardai.
"I just want to get on with my life. I'm not making a complaint to the gardai," Mr Higginbotham said. "I just want to recover and get back to keeping myself busy, I'm glad I'm alive."
The men responsible for the attack, which occurred on Monday, are still walking the streets.
Newbridge gardai are investigating and have appealed for witnesses to come forward.
The ordeal happened at a vacant property off James Lane in Newbridge, Co Kildare, where Mr Higginbotham was taken before a rope was tied around his neck. He was initially rushed to Naas General Hospital but he was later transferred to St James' Hospital in Dublin.
He had X-rays and was told he would have to return for plastic surgery, having lost half of his right ear.
Mr Higginbotham indicated he did not know why he was targeted by the thugs and didn't know who they were. "I don't go around looking for trouble. I just keep to myself," he said.
The young man said he was off drugs and has been attending an addiction counsellor for some time. He was due before Kildare District Court on Thursday charged with stealing three bottles of vodka from Dunnes Stores on February 5. However, his case was adjourned for six weeks to allow him to recover.
Before the attack, Mr Higgin- botham said, he was trying to improve his life and attending a gym to "keep busy" every day.
The attack follows a spate of violent incidents in Newbridge in recent months prompting residents to protest in the town earlier this week.