A Limavady mother has made an impassioned appeal to catch the “evil trash” responsible for a brutal attack on her “kind and generous” daughter.
Mum-of-one, Danielle Allen was left fighting for her life after she was attacked in her home in the Glenmore Gardens area of Limavady on July 17 at around 10.30pm.
She sustained “serious” injuries, most of which are too graphic to publish.
She was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital before being transferred to Altnagelvin in August. She has undergone rehabilitation at Musgrave Park and is being cared for in Spruce House in Londonderry. Danielle is dependent on using a wheelchair and needs 24-hour care.
Danielle’s family say her recovery is “miraculous”, and were overjoyed she could spend Christmas day at home.
Danielle’s mum, Colette McLaughlin, and her younger sisters Stacey and Lauren Allen say their lives have been turned upside down.
“It has been a living nightmare,” said Colette, speaking publicly for the first time. “When you hear about somebody being attacked on the news, you think ‘God help that family’, but you never think it would happen to your family. If the evil trash who did this to Danielle could see my daughter now and what they’ve done to her, to Paige - her daughter - and to her family’s life.”
Stacey stresses her sister hasn’t lost her memory and remembers what happened to her.
“We don’t want another family to go through what Danielle has, and what we have gone through and what we’re still going through. We can’t move forward.”
The family, overwhelmed by support from the Aghanloo and Limavady communities, praised medical staff involved in Danielle’s care. They urge anyone with information about what happened “to do the right thing”.
“Big or small, no matter what information they have, they should come forward,” said Lauren.
SDLP Councillor Gerry Mullan said the entire community was stunned by the attack.
“Those responsible must be apprehended,” he said. “I would urge anyone with whatever information they have about this heinous crime to contact the police.”
PSNI Chief Inspector Alan Hutton, the Limavady Area Commander said: “We sympathise with Danielle and her family on the undoubted trauma that they have experienced. We can only begin to imagine what the last six months have meant to them.
“Our determination to find out what happened to Danielle has not diminished. Since July, extensive enquiries have continued and a number of interviews have been carried out. Numerous other persons have also been spoken to.
“A 23-year-old man was arrested on July 18 on suspicion of serious offences alleged to relate to the incident involving Danielle. He is currently on police bail pending further enquiries.
“Police have employed a wide range of resources to assist in the investigation, including experts from within the Service as well as from outside Northern Ireland.
“We have also spoken to members of the McLaughlin family to update them on enquiries, most recently on Monday, December 29th.”
Police have appealed to anyone who has not yet spoken to police, but believes they may be able to assist the investigation to contact detectives at Limavady by calling the non-emergency number 101.