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Wednesday 26 October 2016

Innocent woman shot in the neck 'was 1cm away from paralysis'

Published 17/05/2016 | 07:18

Ciara Sheehan was shot in the neck when the house she was in was attacked
Ciara Sheehan was shot in the neck when the house she was in was attacked

A young woman shot in the neck could have been paralysed if the bullet had entered her neck just 1cm to the side.

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The revelation came as gardai recovered a firearm which they suspect was used in the attack that left Ciara Sheehan (21) with neck and throat injuries.

She is now in a serious but stable condition in Cork University Hospital (CUH) as gardai admitted she was not the intended target of a terrifying early morning gun attack on a family home in Knocknaheeny, Cork.

The handgun recovered yesterday by gardai will now undergo a detailed forensic and ballistic examination to determine if it was used in the attack.

Gardai are also investigating whether attacks on two other houses on Cork’s northside may be linked to the incident.

Ms Sheehan was sitting watching TV with a friend in a house in the Hollywood Estate when a firearm was discharged through the sitting-room window at 12.30am on Sunday.

It was the latest in a series of terrifying attacks on the family living in the property, which included windows being smashed.

Ms Sheehan suffered a gunshot wound to her throat and neck.

Doctors performed emergency surgery at CUH and she is now expected to make a full recovery.

However, local sources said it was a miracle the innocent woman escaped life-threatening injury.

“If it had been just a small bit to the side, she could have been killed or left paralysed,” said one friend from Ardcullen.

“Less than half an inch and we would have been talking about a tragedy.”

The woman, who didn’t want to give her name because she was frightened, said it was an appalling incident.

Gurranabraher gardai arrested a man (29) and woman (22) within an hour of the attack.

The pair, who are not related, can be questioned for up to five days.

The man is being questioned in Gurranabraher Garda Station while the woman is being questioned in the Bridewell Garda Station.

The man is well known to gardai.

Sources indicated that he has been the focus of multiple investigations ranging from serious assaults, intimidation and general criminality.

Over the past 10 years, the man has been the focus of investigations ranging from an attack on a man with a sword to intimidation of an individual who had a pipe bomb left outside his home.

Other incidents included threats with Stanley knives and even a chainsaw.

Several investigations were ultimately frustrated after people were too frightened to make reports to gardai.

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