Northern Ireland

Girl (13) hailed a hero for saving life of baby nephew in Fermanagh machete attack

The 13-year-old girl was left in a critical but stable condition in hospital
The 13-year-old girl was left in a critical but stable condition in hospital

A 13-year-old girl was left in a critical condition in hospital after being attacked by a gang wielding machetes in a house in Co Fermanagh

The teenager was hailed a hero by her family for "saving the life" of her baby nephew after three men forced their way into a house at Trasna Way in Lisnaskea on Saturday night.

The baby's grandmother, Elizabeth Joyce, also received stitches for stab wounds but the 11-month-old was unharmed.

Ms Joyce said "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 said.

The teenager suffered serious stab wounds and police said yesterday she remained in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Ms Joyce described how she attempted to fight off the assailants when they entered the house at around 9.15pm.

"Very frightening and terrifying for myself, my grandson and the little 13-year -old girl that was here, who was fighting for her life last night in hospital. It is something that we will never get over," she told the BBC.

Elizabeth Joyce hailed the 13-year-old girl as a hero. Picture from BBC
Elizabeth Joyce hailed the 13-year-old girl as a hero. Picture from BBC

"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 them away from her.

"When I seen poor Geraldine's cut I thought.... Geraldine was going to die on my chair."

Police are treating the attack as attempted murder.

Footage of the aftermath, including a graphic image of a back wound suffered by the teenager, have been circulating on social media.

A man can be heard addressing the perpetrators, saying "Look what you done to my little girl, are you proud of that?".

He also said the teenager had "saved my little child", claiming they had tried to hit the 11-month-old boy with a machete as the girl held him.

A separate video clip, also circulating online, appears to show a number of men approaching a house.

They go in and begin to attack a young girl before a woman intervenes.

The attack has been condemned by local politicians.

Sinn Féin's Michelle Gildernew said the community of Lisnaskea was shocked by what had happened and her thoughts were with the victims.

“This attack was particularly vicious and I would call on anyone who has any information on the perpetrators of this horrific attack to bring it forward immediately to the police,” she said.

Ulster Unionist Tom Elliott described the attack as a "despicable act of violence".

Writing on Twitter, he said: "What type of person would attack a 13 year old girl with a machete, with an 11-month-old child in the house and stab another woman?"

SDLP councillor Adam Gannon described the attack as "absolutely shocking" and said he hoped those hurt make a full recovery.

Alliance Fermanagh representative Matthew Beaumont also said whoever carried out the "horrific attack" needs to be caught quickly.

He added that he was "genuinely sickened by what has happened" after being made aware of video footage from the attempted murder.

Detective Sergeant Keith Monaghan said: “This must have been a terrifying ordeal for those involved and we are determined to find the men responsible.

"We have several lines of enquiry which we are progressing at this time 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.

"Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100 per cent anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”