Sunday 25 February 2018

'I didn’t want to upset you' - first words innocent gunshot woman told mum after surgery

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THE mother of an innocent young woman shot as she watched TV with a friend said she just wants her "baby" back home safe and well.

Susan O'Mahony said her 21 year old daughter Ciara was simply "caught in the crossfire" as a shot was fired at a house in Knocknaheeny at 12.30am last Sunday The gunshot victim admitted to her mother that, as she was being rushed to hospital, she thought she was going to die.

Ciara Sheehan remans in a serious but stable condition in Cork University Hospital (CUH) after undergoing emergency surgery to remove a bullet from her neck and throat.

Had the bullet been just 1cm to the side, she could have been killed or left paralysed.

The bullet missed her jugular vein by just 1mm.

"She is the innocent one caught up in all of it," Susan told the Irish Examiner.

"We want people to remember that she is the innocent girl. And we just want her home and well, safe and sound.”

The dancer teacher has been maintaining a vigil by Ciara's bedside supported by her partner, Alan.

"“She is the luckiest and the unluckiest girl. It is like a miracle.

The doctor said the bullet was 1mm away, the thinness of paper. That close to the main artery in her neck. The bullet was lodged in her neck," Susan said.

“There was hardly no blood. It was just trickling out of her neck."

When Ciara regained consciousness after surgery, she told her mother she didn't want to worry her over what had happened.

“I didn’t want to ring you, I didn’t want to upset you. I thought I was going to die.”

"It is overwhelming, it is frightening. We are ordinary people," Susan said.

"One moment you are doing ordinary things. A couple of hours later she is in a hospital with a bullet wound. A girl who was full of beans."

Susan appealed for privacy as the family now deals with the appalling incident and Ciara recovers.

She explained she decided to grant a single interview so the media would leave her family in peace.

"She is an innocent girl - she is like a teacher’s pet," Susan added.

"She is 21 but we see her as a teenager. She has a boyfriend but she kind of hides it, she kind of acts like a teenager that way."

"And the phone is part of her. She is addicted to her phone."

Susan was first alerted to the incident in Knocknaheeny when her sister, Fiona, rang her to say Ciara had been injured.

“I thought she was gone off her game," Susan said.

"I was screaming, ‘what are you saying, like’?” The news had gone around town and Fiona had heard it from her own daughter who was in the city centre on a night out."

Since then, Susan had maintained a vigil at her daughter's bedside.

The family admitted they have been overwhelmed by support from the Cork community led by Lord Mayor of Cork Councillor Chris O'Leary and the Bishop of Cork & Ross, Dr John Buckley.

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