Student fights for life after US mugging
Published 25/04/2010 | 05:00
AN Irish student who was beaten unconscious on a Chicago street remained in a critical condition in hospital last night as her parents flew to her be at her side.
Natasha McShane, 23, from Silver Hill in south Armagh was beaten in the back of the head with a baseball bat on her way home from a night out with a friend early on Friday. Ms McShane, who completed a MA in urban planning at University College Dublin, had been studying urban planning and public affairs at the University of Illinois in Chicago since January.
According to local media reports, Ms McShane and her friend, Stacey Jurich, 24, had been socialising earlier that evening.
The pair were walking home to Ms Jurich's house at about 3.30am when an assailant came at them. He attacked Ms Jurich and Ms McShane with an aluminium baseball bat, stole their purses and fled.
Ms McShane and Ms Jurich were both unconscious when they were admitted to Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital, where they are in intensive care.
Ms Jurich's mother gave an account of the attack to local media, saying that Natasha "got the worst of it".
Wendy Gay Van Etten told how her daughter, a graduate of the university, had received a good work review that day and the two friends had gone out to celebrate.
Ms Van Etten said that Ms Jurich was struck in the back of the head, leaving her dazed and stumbling. The assailant then attacked Ms McShane, striking her in the head two or three times. Ms McShane collapsed unconscious and bleeding. Ms Jurich was struck a second time when she went to help her friend. She screamed for passing taxis to stop.
The first taxi failed to do so but a second stopped and called the emergency services. Ms Jurich then collapsed, but is reported to have recovered consciousness.
However, Ms McShane remains in a critical condition. The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was providing consular assistance to Ms McShane's family.
Her parents boarded a flight to Chicago yesterday and were expected to be by their daughter's bedside last night.