An autistic teenager who was left for dead after a brutal assault holds the key information which could help police bring his attacker to justice.
But almost two months after Scott Vineer narrowly escaped death when he was kicked repeatedly in the head, he has still not woken up from a coma.
But detectives investigating the assault believe that he may soon be well enough to help them.
Officers are also awaiting the results of forensic tests in a bid to finally apprehend the person who kicked the 17-year-old repeatedly in the head and face.
One person has been arrested in connection with the attack on Scott, who has autism, but he was later released pending further inquiries.
According to Scott’s family there has been some small improvement in his condition over the past few weeks.
Although he remains in a coma in the Royal Victoria Hospital he has now begun to open his eyes, smile and even recognise voices. Detectives are due to meet Scott’s consultant within the next few weeks to get an idea of when they may be able to speak with him about the assault.
So far no eye-witnesses have come forward and Scott’s account could prove crucial in bringing his attacker to justice.
Scott disappeared on the afternoon of September 6, shortly after he left the South Eastern Regional College in Lisburn where he was learning work-related skills.
When he failed to return home that evening his mother contacted police. An extensive search operation was launched and Scott was eventually found lying unconscious in the grounds of a disused furniture showroom in the city at 9pm the following night.
He had been kicked several times about the face and head and sustained serious injuries.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Victoria Hospital said yesterday that the teenager remained in a stable condition.
Pastor Nick Serb, who has been supporting the family throughout their ordeal, said everyone is “cautiously hopeful” about the progress Scott has been making.
“I was with him on Saturday and I asked if he remembered me and he squeezed his mum’s hand to say that he did,” said Mr Serb — who got to know the teenager when he began to attend his drop-in centre in Lisburn.
“It is still a waiting game. Scott’s mum is very encouraged by the progress but is also remaining cautious. This has been such a difficult time for them and very overwhelming,” Mr Serb added.
Story so far
Scott Vineer (17) has been in a coma for almost eight weeks after a vicious attack in Lisburn. The teenager went missing shortly after leaving college on the afternoon of September 6. He was found unconscious close to a towpath at 9pm the following night. So far police have been unable to establish a motive and have appealed for information.
Agonising vigil of a devoted mum
By Deborah McAleese
Helen-Louise Vineer has been keeping a vigil by her son’s beside ever since his battered body was discovered in a disused carpark eight weeks ago.
The mother-of-three enters the Royal Victoria Hospital every day tentatively hoping to see an improvement in her son Scott’s condition.
She welcomes any slight progress in his condition with both excitement and caution.
”It is heartbreaking seeing him like this knowing how funny, happy, kind, thoughtful, helpful and full of life he always was before this happened,” Ms Vineer posted on a special website set up to support Scott.
“The injuries he sustained are beyond belief. Doctors can not begin to guess if or when he will come round and what lasting |effect his injuries will have on him, he is unrecognisable.
“Someone did this to Scott. More than one person did this, it was not an accident, they meant to do it. Someone somewhere knows who did this. If you know any thing that can help please contact the police,” she also said.
But she warned that Scott is still classed at level nine on the coma scale. The scale is three to 15, with three being the deepest coma and 15 being awake.