Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland woman tells of 'running for her life' as shots fired in mass brawl at Spanish holiday resort

By Jonathan Bell

A Northern Ireland woman - whose partner was shot in the leg - has spoken of how they had to run for their lives as shots were fired during a mass brawl in the Spanish holiday resort.

And, such was the adrenaline of the moment, in the midst of a mass panic as crowds scattered her partner was able to keep on running despite his gaping gunshot wound and a blood "pumping out everywhere".

"I thought he was going to bleed to death right there on the street," said Derry woman Julie Smyth.

Julie and partner of 10 years Shaun McGavigan were in Benidorm earlier this month. They were out in a bar in the main area - dubbed 'Little England' - half way through their week long stay.

At around 11pm Julie felt tired and the couple went to return to their apartment. It was then that a mass brawl broke out in front of them.

Julie (28) said their were possibly 30 men involved, "fighting like animals" and throwing furniture around.

As panic spread they decided to flee.

"We were petrified. Then we heard a shot, and then another.... and then Shaun called out he had been hit.

"I thought it had to be terrorists.

"But he managed to keep going, such was the adrenaline he didn't go down and kept running. He collapsed and then people came to help and they were fantastic in helping with first aid - but we were very scared."

Police have put the incident down to a "drug-mafia" incident. In all three people were injured, although their injuries were described as not life-threatening.

Shaun was discharged a day later, although he remains in severe pain.

"We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Julie.

"It ruined the holiday... we didn't leave the apartment after that and couldn't wait to get home. Next time we won't be leaving Ireland... you just don't expect that in Benidorm."

Shaun (41) works in a meat factory but as he spends a long time on his feet he isn't expecting a return to work soon. Julie is due to return to work at a creche on Tuesday.

She added: "Shaun is in a bad way. He has seen doctors here and we will probably need counselling. Who expects to have to run for their lives when on holiday in Spain?

"Shaun has real difficulty walking. He is traumatised.

"We'll just see how it goes. It's a shame to because we were having a great time.

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