Belfast Telegraph

Andrew Barr's family told he might not survive attack after wedding - mum makes emotional appeal

By Victoria Leonard

The family of a Ballymena father-of-two who was seriously injured after attending a friend's wedding have issued an emotional television appeal to bring those who left him for dead to justice.

Fitness instructor Andrew Barr (32) was discovered with what his family described as "horrific" injuries in the grounds of Leighinmohr House Hotel in Ballymena's Galgorm Road area in the early hours of Friday.

He lay badly injured for around four hours before being found, and was rushed to hospital with serious head injuries at 6am on Friday.

A picture shared by Mr Barr on social media just hours before the incident showed him smiling alongside the bride and other wedding guests.

Andrew's parents Sam and Amanda said on Sunday that their "precious son" had suffered punctured lungs and brain haemorrhaging to both sides of his head, "one of which is inoperable".

They added that he had "luckily not lost his sight in his left eye" and stated that the attack was being "treated as attempted murder".

Yesterday evening, the Belfast Trust said that Mr Barr, who runs Flamingo Fitness in Ballymena and has two sons aged two and four, was in a stable condition.

On last night's BBC Newsline, Mr Barr's mother Amanda and sister Victoria Smith issued an emotional appeal for help to track down those who carried out the attack.

Reliving the family's horrific ordeal, Mrs Barr tearfully recalled: "He has sustained injuries apparently consistent with being severely kicked in the head and he was haemorrhaging.

"He was in and out of consciousness and we were brought into a room and told that it was likely that there was a strong possibility that Andrew wouldn't survive these injuries."

Ms Smith stated: "I would ask, if they are a sibling or they are a parent, how they would feel if such violence was inflicted on a family member of theirs, and what justice they would want done if they were in our position?

"These men, if you wish to call them such, shouldn't be allowed to continue their daily chores with my brother in the condition they left him."

Mrs Barr added: "He was vulnerable, he was alone, and he had a couple of drinks as you do if you are at a wedding, so they took advantage of that.

"I think that says an awful lot about them, and then they left him and either went home or wherever, and they left him.

"And people like that we don't need in our society, they serve no purpose."

Mr Barr's family said that the police believe that more than one person was involved, and that Mr Barr now faces a "long road to recovery, with the potential for complications". PSNI Detective Sergeant Peter Crothers said: "Police would like to hear from anyone who was socialising in the man's company earlier that evening at a function he attended in the Leighinmohr Avenue area.

"In particular, police would like to hear from anyone who was with the man between the hours of 1am and 2.30am.

"Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives in Ballymena on the non-emergency number, 101."

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