Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Man blinded in stabbing attack was very nearly dead, trial told

A Killyleagh man left blinded after being stabbed in an "unprovoked" attack along with his brother in a Belfast city centre street, could have died but for his age and good health.

The Belfast Crown Court trial of Belfast men Alan Stewart, (20) from Finnis Close, and Adam Smyth (19), from Bests Hill, heard yesterday that the knife attack could have proved fatal to someone older.

They deny attempting to murder Mark Keller and wounding his brother Anthony during the attack in the early hours of November 6, 2005.

Royal Victoria Hospital Consultant Gerard Lavery revealed that Mark had lost so much blood from two stab wounds to the left chest, that he suffered a heart attack.

The jury also heard that hospital staff battling to save his life "lost count" of the amount of fluids initially pumped into him to keep him alive.

Mr Lavery said at the time it was thought "quite likely he was going to die" and that Mr Keller had lost so much blood "basically he had no blood circulating at all".

"The fact that he was young and in comparatively good health gave him a better chance," to survive the stabbing, said Mr Lavery, who added, " if it had been an older person he probably would not have survived".

However, it was not until Mr Keller, who received 40 units of blood and was kept sedated while on life support, finally did recover that "we discovered that he could not see properly".

Mr Lavery explained this was possibly due to a lack of blood getting to the visual cortex at the rear of the brain.

The court also heard that the black handled, serated long-bladed knife used to stab Mark and slash his brother Anthony was later found a short distance away behind a telephone junction box at the corner of Howard and Brunswick Streets.

The trial continues.

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