Belfast Telegraph

Troubles victim: 'I tried to kill myself because I felt I was a burden to everyone'

By Michael McHugh

Alex Bunting had surgery to both legs, skin grafts and other medical procedures in the months after a booby-trap bomb exploded under his car on his way to work.

The day after he arrived at Musgrave Park Hospital, another bomb went off near the military wing. He suffered cuts and bruises.

"You can imagine the fear and everything that I had gone through sort of settling, and then going there and that happening," he said.

He was in hospital for just over a year, and was then allowed home at weekends.

"I was institutionalised - I was used to nurses and everybody doing everything for me until I got home and it was a complete shock because normality kicks in, and I found that very, very hard," said Alex.

Afterwards, he had to move to Newtownards, a town where he knew nobody and did not receive any counselling.

"I did one of the stupidest things in my life - I tried to commit suicide," Alex said. "I felt I was no longer a man able to provide for my family. I felt I had lost my business, my work, my home because there was nothing in place. I was self-employed, living on the bare minimum.

"I felt as if I was a burden on everybody around me, getting pushed around in a wheelchair and having to go back and forward to hospital. I couldn't go on holiday. All these things played into what I had done.

"One day I was sitting in the house - this is after I had done what I had done - and my wife said to me, 'You have gone through all this and what you are doing now is you are destroying us'.

"I love my wife and my kids and without them I probably would not be here, without a shadow of a doubt."

Mr Bunting told how social services took him to sign on because he had no money.

He said: "When I arrived into the dole office - I will never forget it -the clerk comes back and says to me, 'Mr Bunting, I am sorry, but you are down here as deceased'."

The following week, he was taken to a community centre.

"As soon as the door opened, I could smell the pee and when I went into the room it was all old people," he said.

"I said, 'No, I can't do it', so I did not get any counselling after all the trauma."

He also revealed his son developed epilepsy after he saw him being blown up.

"It has destroyed his life as well - it is a very hard way to carry on," Alex said.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph