Man, 73, assaulted with shovel in unprovoked attack has permanent brain damage

Man, 73, assaulted with shovel in unprovoked attack has permanent brain damage
A vigil was held for Paddy Hansard last month

A great-grandfather who was left fighting for his life a month ago following an unprovoked attack outside his home has been left with a permanent significant brain injury.

Paddy Hansard, 73, suffered serious head injuries and broken bones in his neck due to a horrific attack which took place at 2.30am on August 17 at Courtney Place flat complex in Ballybough, Dublin.

Mr Hansard, who has five adult children, along with four brothers and 11 sisters, was rushed to the nearby Mater Hospital by emergency services, where he remained in a critical condition for several weeks. He suffered three bleeds to his brain.

The retired scaffolder has now been moved to a High Dependency Ward where he will remain for several weeks. The vicious attack on Mr Hansard is now the focus of this month’s RTÉ hour-long TV programme Crimecall.

Filming is taking place throughout the week with interviews focusing on the events of that night, locations Mr Hansard visited in the hours prior to the attack and with his family including his brother Paul, daughter Linda and partner June.

His partner June witnessed the attack by a man with a shovel outside the flats complex.

A vigil, was organised by a close friend of Paddy’s Lorraine Gavin who also lives in the complex, shortly after the attack to show solidarity and support to his family and in an effort to stop any recriminations over the incident.

Speaking on behalf of Paddy’s entire family and partner June, his brother Paul revealed that doctors say he “will never be the same again”.

It is a complete life change for Paddy. We have been told by the doctors he will never be the same again. He has a permanent significant brain injury and there is still swelling on his brain which is so far reducing slowly.

“He remains in a neck cast and that will be on him for a while to come. They can’t operate on it as it’s too dangerous. Doctors are hoping it will heal itself but whatever way his neck bones knit back then that is how he will be left. He also still has no movement on his left side.

“Paddy remains confused, has very little concentration, he has the odd few words and again doctors can’t tell us if he will be ever able to engage in a full conversation with us.

“He will need intensive rehabilitation and speech therapy for a long time to come. Hopefully he will get back some quality of life, but he’ll always be our Paddy and we will love and be there for him all the way.

“Not only is it so tough on him but on all of us. We are a very close family.”

Mr Hansard explained that Crimecall will recount the type of person his brother was growing-up, his adult life and the events of the night he was attacked including when he was in his local pub Clonliffe House.

A man in his 50s was arrested just hours after the attack, and was questioned for a time by gardaí based in Mountjoy. He was subsequently released without charge and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Describing the events of the life changing attack Mr Hansard said:

Paddy was out having a drink, which he normally has in Clonliffe House, which has been his local for a number of years. He goes out on a Friday and Saturday night and has his own seat in the pub.

“As a family we are still very emotional and very angry because it happened to Paddy because he is just a wonderful human being.

“Paddy loves us all and all the wider family love him. This (attack) is causing so much heart-ache for us. But we are the ones who really know Paddy for the true person he is.”

Investigating gardaí are appealing for witnesses to contact the incident room at Mountjoy Station. Anyone with information is asked to contact Mountjoy Garda Station on 01-6668601, the Garda Confidential Line 18000 666 111 or any Garda station.

- Crimecall will air on Monday, September 23 at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.

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