There was blood everywhere. I was screaming 'please help me', I really did think I was dying
A young woman has told how a night of celebration ended in horror after a brutal attack which left her covered in blood and fearing for her life.
Sinead Quinn needed more than 50 stitches after she was attacked and shoved through a window.
The 18-year-old was returning from a night out to celebrate her A-level results when she was caught up in the terrifying melee.
The incident, involving a crowd of young men and women, took place outside a west Belfast takeaway in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Sinead - an innocent bystander - was attacked after going to help her friend Chloe, who was knocked unconscious.
The gang - some of whom were armed with sewer rods - then turned on her, forcing her through the window.
Sinead said she was left bleeding heavily and fearing for her life.
At one stage she pleaded with her attacker to stop, screaming that she was badly hurt.
She told the Belfast Telegraph: "There was blood everywhere. I was just crying and screaming, 'please help me'.
"It was so scary.
"I really did think I was going to die. It was mad."
Speaking at her home in Poleglass, Sinead said she was still in a lot of pain and found it difficult to move and turn her head.
The terrifying attack took place at the Turkish Kebab and Pizza House on the Andersonstown Road shortly before 2am.
Sinead had been out celebrating her A-level results, which she had received two days earlier.
She plans to work with children with disabilities in the future.
It is understood a fight broke out between a crowd of girls outside the takeaway.
Soon afterwards a car pulled up and three men got out.
They were brandishing sewer rods and started attacking people.
After her friend was struck, Sinead went to her aid - only for the gang to start attacking her.
One man shoved her so hard that he pushed her through the window.
"I just happened to be there - wrong place, wrong time," explained Sinead. "I was ordering food and there was a fight going on outside.
"I didn't think anything of it, but the next thing a crowd of them all came bailing in.
"There were two women and a few men, and they were swinging big poles.
"They started beating my friend, who was with me, but we had nothing to do with it. She was unconscious and one of them was still beating her.
"I tried to stop them and I got pulled over.
"One of them was fighting me and I went straight through the window."
According to Sinead, the gang had attacked people indiscriminately.
"These two girls had been fighting with people outside and they came in with men afterwards, so I think they'd gone and got them," she added.
"I don't think they were looking for a certain person.
"The lot of them just came through the door and grabbed whoever was closest to them and started beating everybody. It was terrible.
"My friend happened to be closest and she was knocked out, unconscious. She's OK now.
"I was pulling him off her and he was hitting me, and then whatever way he shoved me I went through the window.
"Whatever way I went, I went over the top of him. I really thought I was going to die.
"I actually said to him, 'I'm really seriously hurt here. You need to stop'."
Bystanders pulled the man off but he managed to escape, along with the other gang members.
Sinead added: "The next thing I knew they had all disappeared.
"I was left with just my friend and my brother's girlfriend."
Photographs taken in the aftermath show horrific injuries to Sinead's back as friends try to halt the bleeding.
Pools of blood can be seen on the floor of the takeaway, while blood is smeared on the wall.
Sinead was taken to hospital but released on Sunday afternoon.
Her attacker has not yet been caught.
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin described the attack as "a truly vicious ordeal".
He has appealed for anyone with information to contact police.