Family prays as Derry assault victim Danny Payne remains in coma
A father-of-three remains in an induced coma a week after being assaulted in Londonderry city centre as his family urge people to keep praying for his recovery.
Danny Payne, who is in his 30s and from the Clooney estate, was assaulted by a number of men in the Newmarket Street area of the city shortly after 2am last Sunday, October 22.
It is believed that the former Foyle Search and Rescue volunteer stepped in to try and break up an altercation beside the city's walls when he was attacked.
He suffered serious head injuries in the incident and was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where he has had two operations to relieve swelling in his brain.
His brother-in-law Chris McElwee says that the young father's family are maintaining a bedside vigil and "hoping and praying that he pulls through".
"Danny is still in an induced coma in intensive care," he said.
"He had one operation on Monday to relieve the pressure on his brain and then another operation on Thursday to relieve the pressure and remove more blood clots from his brain.
"There is no change at all, he remains stable and we are there by his bedside, hoping that he comes around.
"I don't think that they are even going to try and wake him up yet. It is more or less up to Danny now to see how he comes on.
"Our family are just trying to hold it together for him. We are all there at his bedside. It's just going to be a long, drawn-out process for Danny. It's a waiting game."
Chris says that the amount of support the family have been receiving from all over the world has kept them going in their darkest hours.
"We have had messages from all over the world," he added.
"We asked people to pray for Danny to help get him through it and we have people praying for Danny from as far away as Japan and Canada.
"We are strong believers in the power of prayer and those prayers have kept us going and kept us strong. I would ask people to keep praying."
A 19-year-old man was last week charged with grievous bodily harm with intent in connection with the assault and is expected to appear at Londonderry Magistrates' Court on November 15.
An 18-year-old woman also arrested in connection with the same incident was released pending a report to the PPS.