Family's torment as Danielle Allen's brutal attacker still walks free
The family of a woman left brain-damaged and wheelchair-bound after a brutal attack five months ago say they are tortured by the fact the culprit still hasn't been caught.
Danielle Allen (27) was so badly beaten, kicked and burned during the attack at her home in Glenmore Gardens, Limavady, in July that doctors feared she would die.
To date just one arrest has been made in connection with the horrendous attack on the mother-of-one.
But the 23-year-old man detained and questioned by police was later released unconditionally.
After weeks in a coma Danielle now requires 24-hour care - but she is determined to see her attacker in court.
This same grit and determination has sustained her family through the past five months as they watched Danielle begin her road to recovery.
Her sister Stacey told the Belfast Telegraph that the family will not rest until the guilty are in court and charged with attempted murder.
"Danielle is such a determined person and she beat all the odds against her so far. She is adamant she will walk again, so we have every confidence she will see the day when the people who left her for dead are caught," said Stacey.
"The doctors told us that Danielle has brain damage but we think the part of her brain that has been damaged is not the part that affects her memory or ability to think, so we hope that she will be able to tell the police that one vital piece of information that is missing so far.
"When I first looked at my sister lying in the hospital bed after the attack I was scared to even touch her. I was scared I would hurt her, so I just touched her poor battered face as gently as I could to let her know I was there.
"The doctors had told us to prepare to say our farewells but I couldn't, so I just begged her not to leave us and stay and fight and show everyone how strong she was, and that is what she did.
"She is still with us, but the damage that has been done to her has meant she is not the way she should be and Christmas was tough on us all.
"While we struggled to cope with how badly things have changed for us, there were other families having a grand Christmas who didn't deserve to, and the thought of that tortures us.
"I wonder so often how the people who attempted to murder my sister and the people who are helping to keep what they did a secret can live with themselves.
"Danielle is a mother, a daughter and a sister who never hurt anyone. To imagine how anyone could go to their beds at night and sleep is beyond us, but they do need to know one thing - we will never give up until they are behind bars."
While no one has yet been charged, Danielle's family and police are confident she will be able to provide critical information now that the doctors caring for her have declared her fit to be interviewed.
Chief Inspector Alan Hutton, the Limavady area commander, said: "We sympathise with Danielle and her family on the undoubted trauma that they have experienced. We can only begin to imagine what the last six months have meant to them.
"Our determination to find out what happened to Danielle has not diminished."