A YOUNG Irish woman can barely walk, write, or see properly since she was attacked in Chicago three years ago, the trial of the man accused of attempting to murder her heard yesterday.
Natasha McShane, a postgraduate student from UCD, was studying at the University of Illinois in Chicago when she and her friend were attacked as they walked home following a night out on April 23, 2010.
Heriberto Viramontes (34) is accused of the attempted murders of Natasha (27) from Silverbridge, Co Antrim, and her friend Stacy Jurich, along with 23 other charges ranging from misuse of a credit card to aggravated battery.
Viramontes has pleaded not guilty to all charges. His female co-defendant Marcy Cruz accepted a plea deal in return for a 22-year sentence and is expected to testify against him.
The court went silent as a disturbing video of Natasha McShane was shown to the jury at the trial in Chicago.
It shows Natasha being helped by her mother as she tries to walk, then shakily attempting to take a drink of tea.
The video was shown as Natasha's mother, Sheila McShane, took the stand to describe how utterly life had changed for her daughter and how she is still suffering terribly three and a half years after the attack.
Mrs McShane also revealed the toll it has taken on her own personal life, with the strain at least partly leading to separation from her husband.
Natasha was described as artistic lively young woman, smart, always talking prior to the attack.
Now, there is no conversation, her attempts at drawing end in scribbles and the swimming pool is a place where Natasha goes for therapy.
Natasha's vision and balance have been so badly impaired she "skims off to the right" if allowed to walk on her own.
"She cannot walk on her own," Mrs McShane said, adding Natasha wears support casts on her legs and right arm.
In the video shown in court, Natasha is wearing a helmet.
Mrs McShane said; "We do not have conversations...as a mother I can understand what she's trying to tell me. She does not speak."
The jury was also shown a photograph of Natasha taken in the days after the attack, lying in intensive care, part of her head shaven, one eye open though she remains unconscious.
Mrs McShane explained how her daughter was making progress in the months after returning to Ireland in the summer of 2010 but that a seizure left her in a wheel chair and infections weakened her further.
Under short cross examination the defence asked a number of questions related to the worsening of her condition.
The case continues.