The mother of a man stabbed in a frenzied attack at his west Belfast home has spoken out to end rumours her son was targeted for being a "tout".
Eddie Devine staggered onto the city's Springfield Road after the attack before he was found in a pool of blood on Thursday afternoon.
Disturbing images of the father-of-four quickly appeared on social media alongside speculation he was attacked because he was a "tout".
Claims also emerged that he had been stabbed five times, had his throat cut and even had cut his tongue out.
"He did not have his tongue cut out, that was a lie," said the victim's mother Betty Devine.
"He had not been stabbed five times on the street and he did not have his throat cut.
"If you look at that awful picture of him lying on the street you can see what people think is a wound is the string from his hoodie. It's a disgrace what has been said about my son.
"I can't wait until he opens his mouth properly, to stick out his tongue, to take that picture that will show it's all lies and my son is not a tout."
Speaking to the Sunday World, Ms Devine told how her son needed stitches inside and outside his mouth, and said his bloodied flat was like "a horror movie".
The family also hit back at suggestions the 35-year-old was an informer or that he was attacked by the INLA.
Mr Devine's brother Gavin said it was "completely untrue", adding: "He isn't a tout and he is not involved with any paramilitaries or gangs.
"He smokes grass and might owe a bit of money but that's it and I know that to be the truth, that's the facts."
Mr Devine's mother explained it was her son's drug problems that meant his devoted family could not take him in. "I have 20 grandchildren who are in and out of this house every day of the week," she said. "I cannot expose them to drug abuse, [or] let them think it's okay."
The distraught grandmother also told how her son was the victim of a hit-and-run in March 2018, suffering life-changing injuries. No one was ever convicted.
The PSNI said it received a report of a male being injured during an incident in the Harrogate Street area of west Belfast on Thursday morning.
Inspector Paul Noble said: "The man was taken to hospital for treatment to a stab wound to the side of his face, which is not believed to life-threatening."
Police are appealing for anyone with information to contact 101, quoting reference number 275 of 30/01/20.