19 March 2006

Blinded in LVF murder bid - Home at last

Sunday Life

Stephen Breen
19 March 2006

A Belfast man blinded in an LVF murder bid has been discharged from hospital . . . eight months after he was shot.

David Hanley, an innocent victim of the loyalist feud who was left for dead by a gunman in a case of mistaken identity, is being cared for at home by heartbroken mum Valerie Wright.

The 21-year-old student was blasted once in the head and five times in the stomach last July.

He was on his way home when the LVF terrorist jumped out of an alleyway and pumped the bullets into him.

David has never spoken publicly about the gun attack that's left him devastated. He'd been treated in the Royal Victoria Hospital since the murder bid.

But the surgeon who saved his life, Kishor Choudhari, gave the go-ahead for him to be discharged.

Valerie told Sunday Life how her son is still struggling to come to terms with losing his sight and the serious injuries he sustained to his stomach.

She said: "The only thing David lived for was his dogs. He cannot believe he'll never be able to see his dogs again - he just can't deal with being blind.

"I initially thought that David would not pull through, the fact he has survived is an absolute miracle.

"But it's hard for us to give him hope when he has told us that he wants to die, because he no longer has his sight."

She added: "The slightest sound scares him - the nurses in the ward were moved to tears because of what has happened to him.

"David's even afraid to go to the toilet because he is afraid of urinating on the floor. He thinks he has nothing without his sight. He's completely terrified - it's hard to believe another human being could do this.

"The LVF may have disbanded, but look at the way they have left my son - they are sub-human."

Valerie has had to give up work after David's discharge from hospital.

"I was due to start a new course, too, but I had to give this up because I have to look after my son on a full-time basis.

"Our lives have been shattered, but I would hate to see any other family going through what we are.

"The monster who committed this terrible act must be taken off the streets before he does the same thing to some other innocent person."

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