Friday 22 September 2017

'Think before you lash out' - mum who lost son after one-punch attack

Bridie Curtin from Lyreacrompane, Duagh, Listowel, Co Kerry, holds a photo of her dead son, Eamon. Also in the picture is her partner Mike Carmody. Photo: Domnick Walsh
Bridie Curtin from Lyreacrompane, Duagh, Listowel, Co Kerry, holds a photo of her dead son, Eamon. Also in the picture is her partner Mike Carmody. Photo: Domnick Walsh
Eamon Curtin: ‘It was heartbreaking to see him revert to being a child after brain injury Photo: Domnick Walsh
Adam Cullen

Adam Cullen

The mother of a man who died a year after being left in a coma from a one-punch attack has pleaded with others to think before they lash out.

Eamon Curtin (41) collapsed and died in the bathroom of his mother's home on Saturday, March 5.

Just over 12 months earlier, on a cold evening in Stockholm, the "gentle giant" from Kerry received a blow that would have a devastating effect.

As he stood waiting for a train in the Swedish capital with his hands in his pockets, he was approached by another Irish man who punched him once in the face. Mr Curtin hit the floor.

His mother Bridget (Bridie) Curtin has pleaded with anyone who may want to lash out to take a step back and remember just one punch can end someone's life.

"The minute that man made a fist that night, Eamon's life ended and so too did all of ours," she said.

"All I would ask, no matter how hard it is, is to think before you lash out.

"Our beautiful, caring loved one is now gone. His infectious laugh will be heard no more, and his zest and energy for life and the love he had for us all has been ripped away. Please just think."

Ms Curtin is to wed her long-term partner Michael Carmody this May and her eldest son was due to give her away.

"How can I replace him?" said Ms Curtin, from Lyracrumpane, near Listowel. "I know regardless he will be there walking me down the aisle, but that doesn't make this any less heartbreaking."

Mr Curtin died the same weekend Guinness brewery worker Patrick 'Paddy' Mullally was killed after a one-punch assault in Dublin after intervening in a row.

The 57-year-old was making his way home from his own retirement party when he was hit once in the face close to his home in Harold's Cross. A Taekwon-do trainer arrested for the assault later pleaded with his family for forgiveness.

Mr Curtin was working in Sweden with Irish construction firm ICDS at the time of the attack on February 22, 2015. In a cruel twist of fate, the machinery engineer would never have been hit had he not missed an earlier train by seconds.

His devastated mother and Eamon's father, Eamon Snr, flew to Stockholm where their son had been placed in an induced coma at the city's Karolinska hospital.

"He was in a coma for two months when they flew him back to Ireland via air ambulance," said Ms Curtin.

"He was taken back to Cork University Hospital where he spent two weeks before waking up and regaining consciousness fully."

She said it was heartbreaking to see her 6ft 4in son revert to being what she described as "being a child" after the brain injury.

Mr Curtin was moved to Tralee Hospital for another two and half months and, in November 2015, was finally released into the care of his mother.

"Eventually, he found his feet again, but his left side was a lot weaker. It took him a long time to get his voice back after they had taken out his respiratory tube, but he was a fighter and got there in the end," said Ms Curtin.

"Throughout the whole time, I knew that he would never be the same again.

"All I could do was hope and pray that he would have some quality to life."

While the results of a post-mortem examination have yet to be released, it is believed he died as a result of complications stemming from the injuries sustained during the attack last year.

No arrests have been made but Swedish police are continuing to liaise with the family.

Irish Independent

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