Belfast Telegraph

Girl (13) 'saved her nephew' in horror Lisnaskea machete attack

Geraldine Maughan's relative Elizabeth Joyce (Credit: BBC NI)
Geraldine Maughan's relative Elizabeth Joyce (Credit: BBC NI)
A 13-year-old girl holds a towel to her chest after being stabbed

By Gillian Halliday

A 13-year-old girl critically injured in a horrific machete attack in Co Fermanagh is a hero for trying to protect her baby nephew as she was stabbed by a gang of men, a family member has said.

A gang of men armed with machetes forced their way into the house in Trasna Way in Lisnaskea at around 9pm on Saturday.

A graphic video, believed to have been filmed by a family member, has since appeared online showing the 13-year-old's injuries, including a deep wound running down her back.

The girl, who is seen clutching a towel to her chest in the footage, remained in hospital on Sunday, with her condition described as critical but stable.

Police are treating the attack as attempted murder.

It is understood the family belong to the Travelling community and the attack may be connected to a dispute.

Elizabeth Joyce (41) was also targeted, and received treatment for stab wounds to a leg. She has since been discharged from hospital. A 11-month-old baby boy inside the property at the time was unhurt.

"It is something that we will never get over," Ms Joyce told the BBC.

"The baby was unharmed because his auntie is a hero. She's 13 years old and she threw her whole self over that baby, and she saved his life. She is a hero."

She added: "I had to get off the chair because I knew I'd be sliced.

"I picked up my frame with my kids' photo on it. I hit one of them at the door to get him away from her."

SDLP councillor Garbhan McPhillips said the community was in shock that someone so young had been subjected to such a violent attack.

"Everybody's shocked and disgusted. There's no call for any sort of attack like this in today's society," he said. "What is going through their minds that they target a young girl?" And Mr McPhillips wished the young victim a full recovery.

"Lisnaskea is a great community, a tight-knit community," he said. "There is a feeling of anger that something like this has happened here."

UUP councillor Trevor Warrington said: Locals are shocked. It is certainly not the type of incident people are accustomed to in Lisnaskea," he said.

Outgoing MP Michelle Gildernew said: "This attack was particularly vicious and I would call on anyone who has any information on the perpetrators of this horrific attack to come forward immediately to the police."

Detective Sergeant Keith Monaghan said the attack had been a terrifying ordeal for those in the property at the time.

He said: "We are determined to find the men responsible. We have several lines of enquiry we are progressing but I would ask anyone with information or who noticed any suspicious activity in the area to contact detectives in Enniskillen and pass that information on.

"The number to call is 101 and the reference number is 1650 16/11/19."

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