Woman shot multiple times by UVF 'still under threat'
Published 14/10/2013 | 01:30
A Belfast woman who suffered horrific injuries in a UVF gun attack last month is reported to have been warned by the police she remains under threat.
Jemma McGrath, from the east of the city, is continuing to recover at the Royal Victoria Hospital after being shot in the arms, legs and stomach nearly three weeks ago.
Ms McGrath is reported to be a former partner of east Belfast UVF leader Stephen Matthews and was reported to have been attacked as the result of a smear campaign against her.
The 24-year-old care worker is reported to have been left traumatised by the brutal attack and is currently relying on a wheelchair to move around.
At 10.40pm on September 25 she was confronted in Lord Street Mews, off the Beersbridge Road, and shot, before the gunmen fled down an alleyway to Trillick Street.
At the time, neighbours thought the shots were fireworks but then heard the young woman's screams of agony.
According to Sunday newspaper reports, Ms McGrath has so far failed to identify any of her attackers to the police and she is also said to be preparing to leave Northern Ireland with other family members once she is well.
A close friend of Ms McGrath, who did not want to be identified, said: "She has been told she is not safe and that no one can offer her any guarantees.
"She wants out of the country as soon as she can, for now her world revolves around the small room in the hospital and even there she does not feel safe – she is terrified.
"Jemma was such a fun-loving, carefree girl but she is a shadow of her self, her confidence is shattered, but she is strong and she will bounce back, she will be determined to do that once she gets on her feet and away from here."
Sources in the east of the city claimed paramilitaries had been spreading malicious rumours about Ms McGrath prior to the murder bid.
It has also been reported she is finding it difficult to come to terms with the idea someone intended to kill her.
"Jemma can't get her head around that," the source added. "To know someone meant to kill you is the frightening thought."
"She has been told she is not safe and that no one can offer her any guarantees. She wants out of the country as soon as she can, for now her world revolves around the small room in the hospital and even there she does not feel safe. Jemma was such a fun-loving, carefree girl. She is a shadow of her self, but she is strong and she will bounce back."
Friend of Jemma McGrath