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'I thought my son would die in my arms' says mother of Derry shooting victim

By George Jackson

Published 24/11/2015

Louise Simpson from the Brandywell area of Derry whose son was shot in both legs in the living room of her house. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics. 24.11.15
Louise Simpson from the Brandywell area of Derry whose son was shot in both legs in the living room of her house. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics. 24.11.15
Jonathan Simpson from the Brandywell who was shot in both legs in the living room of his mother's house in Derry.

The mother of a 23-year-old man who was shot in both legs in his home in the Brandywell area of Londonderry on Monday night, has described how she feared her youngest child would die in her arms following the attack.

Jonathan Simpson - who was advised by the police last month that his life was in danger from republican paramilitaries - was shot several times in both femurs.

The 23-year-old bled heavily and lost a massive amount of blood before ambulance paramedics managed to save his life by stemming the blood flow.

The living room floor of the victim's Brandywell Road home remained splattered in blood. Among the pools of blood were two fist sized blood clots.

Speaking in her home, the victim's mother Louise Simpson said she thought her youngest child was going to die in her arms.

"I was visiting friends in nearby Dove Gardens when I got a call last night that my son had been shot in my house.

"When I arrived home I could not believe what was before me. The living room floor was in a pool of blood and there were two massive blood clots on the floor. After the shot him they callously dragged him to the front door.

"An ambulance arrived and the paramedics said they were fighting to save Jonathan's life, such was the scale of the blood loss.

"He was rushed to Altnagelvin Hospital but because of the serious nature of the injuries to his legs he was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

"In the hospital in Derry he kept crying out for me."

Louise continued: "How dare these people do this to my youngest child.

"They weren't content with just shooting him in the legs, they deliberately targeted his femurs.

"He has been living under a death threat since October and the entire family has been living in fear since that threat against his life was issued.

"I thought the love of my life, my youngest child, was dead when I arrived home.

"It was a scene no mother should ever have to witness. I don't know who did this but I hope they rot in hell because they are nothing but scum.

"My son had to be resuscitated when he was rushed to hospital, such was the life threatening nature of the gun shot wounds to his two legs", she said.

Police chief inspector Tony Callaghan said the victim was lucky to be alive.

"This was a particularly callous incident," He said.

"Even by the brutal standards of previous similar incidents, this was a particularly savage attack.

"Early indications are that this man sustained particularly severe wounds with potentially life changing injuries.

"This was not what some people call a 'knee capping'. this young man sustained gun shot wounds to his femurs, a particularly dangerous part of the body in which to inflict gun shot wounds.

"There can be little doubt that these injuries could have killed, indeed there have been other incidents in which fatalities have occurred in similar circumstances.

"We believe that at least two gunmen were involved in this incident which occurred in the living room of this house at Brandywell Road. the suspected gunmen made their getaway in foot", he said.

Sinn Fein Councillor Kevin Campbell said it was obvious that the gunmen involved in the shooting did not care whether or not their victim would survive.

"The community has made it clear they do not want this sort of violence in this city," he said.

"They want those responsible to cease their activities immediately. This was a vicious and cruel attack and anyone with information about it should bring that information to the proper authorities."

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