Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

The Voice opera singer Carla Maney was shot in crossfire between IRA and police

Newry star of The Voice Carla Maney has revealed how she almost died after being shot in her home city, writes Sara Girvin

Carla Maney - appearing on The Voice
Carla Maney - appearing on The Voice
Carla Maney - appearing on The Voice

The Voice opera sensation Carla Maney was just 11 years old when her father braved a hail of bullets to rescue her after she was caught in the crossfire between police and terrorists in her home city.

Recalling the terrifying attack, Carla said: “Everything was happening in slow motion and I could see all these bullets — these little black dots - flying past me.

“Then a bullet hit the top of my leg and I felt a rush of warm blood.

“It gushed out of the exit wound like a fountain and I was covered in blood — I thought I was dead.

“The next minute my father was picking me up and running to safety.

“I remember he gripped my wounds but I couldn’t scream because I was in shock.

“I was so bloody that he didn’t know if I had been hit once or if I

was riddled with bullets.

“If I had been there any longer, I would have been ... the next bullet would have been in my brain.

“I am very lucky to still be here.”

After the shooting, Carla spent three months in hospital, but the trauma of the 1976 attack haunted her for years.

She suffered from crippling night terrors and now, at the age of 47, she is still too frightened to sleep without a light on.

“After the shooting, I vanished,” she said.

“The only way I could express myself was through singing — that was what I did when things were tough.”

Carla left Northern Ireland at 18 to pursue a singing career but suffered a five-year setback at 32 after contracting chronic laryngitis — forcing her to rebuild her singing technique from scratch.

“Having a background like mine pushes you to take a chance and give things a go,” she said. “And I’m so glad now that we did.”

sgirvin@sundaylife.co.uk

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