Vicious assault Newry mum Mary Clarke battles for life
A mother-of-two is fighting for her life in hospital after sustaining extensive head injuries in a serious assault in Newry.
Mary Clarke, also known as Mary Lennon (51), was found at her home in Hollyridge Lane in the early hours of yesterday.
She was found after police were alerted to a call about a drunk man at the Fiveways roundabout - just metres from the house.
Neighbours say that the woman, who is also a grandmother-of-two, is a retired beautician originally from Mourne View in the city, and had moved to the newly-built street just under a year ago.
They described her as "happy-go-lucky", always smiling and someone who enjoys going on holidays.
One young mother said she heard a disturbance around 2.30am and "someone shouting that they had been stabbed".
Another neighbour, a 26-year-old mother who asked not to be identified, said: "It's getting worse here.
"We've all been here around 10 months, so we all know each other to say 'hello' to. I hadn't seen Mary for a while but she liked her holidays.
"However, I noticed the other day that she had new plant pots out the front, so I knew then she must be back home.
"She lives there with her son and she is always friendly.
"She is very tiny, less than 5ft, but always has a lovely smile on her face.
"We don't know what happened, but no one deserves that.
"We just hope that she is OK."
Sinn Fein Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady visited the scene.
The street remained cordoned off until last night as police forensics officers combed the area and detectives conducted enquiries.
Mr Brady said: "I have been in touch with the police and they said it is an ongoing investigation. It's clear that the woman has sustained very serious injuries and the fact that the street was cordoned off tells you how serious this is.
"I don't live too far from that street and it's a peaceful area.
"If something happens you hear about it, but something like this makes the community fearful.
"My prayers and wishes go out to the woman and hope she makes a full and speedy recovery."
Newry & Armagh Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy added: "This is deeply disturbing news.
"I sincerely hope the victim can make a full recovery from her injuries.
"This incident will shock the community and I would appeal to anyone with any information to contact the police immediately.
"It is vital that the police have all available information at their disposal as they carry out their investigation."
Anyone able to assist police with their enquiries are asked to contact detectives at Ardmore PSNI station on 101, or anonymously through the Crimestoppers number on 0800 555 111.