Tuesday 28 March 2017

Man forced to eat his own ear 'just glad to be alive'

Brendan Higginbotham bears the scars left by the brutal attack that was carried out on him in a vacant property in James Lane, Newbridge, Co Kildare. Photo: Thomas Nolan
Brendan Higginbotham bears the scars left by the brutal attack that was carried out on him in a vacant property in James Lane, Newbridge, Co Kildare. Photo: Thomas Nolan

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

A YOUNG man feared he would die when thugs dragged him into a vacant house, tortured him, severed his ear and forced him to eat part of it.

Brendan Higginbotham (21) needs plastic surgery to repair horrific injuries inflicted on him by thugs in Newbridge, Co Kildare.

He told the Irish Independent he was "too traumatised" to want to describe his ordeal.

"I just want to get on with my life. I'm not making a complaint to the gardai," said Mr Higginbotham.

"I just want to recover and get back to keeping myself busy, I'm glad I'm alive."

The young man is in constant pain and lives in fear since the attack. The men responsible are still walking the streets.

Gardai are investigating Monday's incident and have appealed for witnesses to come forward.

The scene of Mr Higginbotham's ordeal was a vacant property off James Lane in Newbridge.

A rope was tied around his neck, his arms and legs were bound and he was repeatedly beaten with a lump hammer and iron bars. The men also had knives that they used to slice his ear before forcing him to eat part of it.

Yesterday, the distressed 21-year-old insisted he just wanted to put the incident behind him.

His legs are cut, bruised and swollen as he was kneecapped by the thugs. His face is scarred and he has 14 stitches along his cheek. His head has had to be stapled after it was split open in the attack.

Mr Higginbotham was initially taken to Naas General Hospital but later transferred to St James's Hospital in Dublin.

He underwent X-rays and was told he would have to return for plastic surgery on his right ear. He lost half of it.

Mr Higginbotham indicated he did not know why he was targeted, and claimed he was unaware of the thugs' identities. "I don't go around looking for trouble, I just keep to myself."

He said he was off drugs and had been attending an addiction counsellor. 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 has been adjourned for six weeks to allow him to recover. Before the attack, Mr Higginbotham was trying to improve his life and attending the gym to "keep busy" every day. He said he was trying to stay away from friends who were a "bad influence" on him.

The beating follows a spate of violent incidents in Newbridge, prompting residents to protest in the town earlier this week.

Irish Independent

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