Man stabbed 17 times forgives attacker and plans to visit him in jail following apology letter

Man stabbed 17 times forgives attacker and plans to visit him in jail following apology letter
Kristian Shortt, left, and Kenneth Broe, right

A man who almost died twice after being stabbed 17 times says he wants to become friends with his attacker after he received a letter of apology from him from prison.

Kristian Shortt was left for dead when Kenneth Broe attacked him in an apartment in Letterkenny, Co Donegal. So bad were Mr Shortt's injuries that gardaí could not tell if he was a man or a woman when they arrived at the bloodbath scene.

Broe, from Tallaght in Dublin, was jailed last month at Letterkenny Circuit Court for eight years for the violent attack on Mr Shortt.

But last week the knifeman wrote to his victim pleading for forgiveness and suggesting that they might even become friends one day.

And remarkably, Mr Shortt, now 37, has now said he forgives his attacker and is looking forward to visiting him in prison.

The court had heard how Broe had fled the scene of the attack on Main Street in Letterkenny in 2008 and was later caught in Monaghan in possession of €1,100 of cocaine.

He initially tried to blame another man who was in the apartment at the time for the brutal attack.

The trial of Broe, which initially took place last June, heard how he used a pair of scissors to attack his victim injuring him four times in the neck, three in the back of the head, three in the chest and also wounded him in the hands and back area.

Shortt had been taken to Letterkenny General Hospital before being transferred to St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin and spent two weeks in intensive care and underwent two life-saving operations.

This week Broe blamed a blood transfusion which he said put him in fear that he had contracted CJD which he says later led him to suffer from depression.

In the letter to Mr Shortt he says that he has become a changed person and wants to tell the man he almost killed how sorry he is for all he has done to Kristian and his family.

He wrote "I'm sure you think that I am a bad person but I am actually a very decent person. I was down on my luck and I behaved terribly.

"Now that the court is over I can finally move on if that makes sense and I expect that you feel the same.

"The court has sentenced me and I have to serve my time but at least we have closure.

I want you to know that I have always admired you for the way you turned your life around as I know you had your own problems.

"You seem like a man of great character and strength and I always felt that me and you could have been good friends if it were not for what happened."

Broe then offers his apology to his victim and says that in time he would like to speak with him face-to-face.

He adds in the letter "I would also like to apologise to your family. I can only imagine the pain and upset I've caused them as well.

"I do have intentions of speaking with you in time if that's ok with you. I feel it would be good to talk about it as there's only so much I can say in a letter. Obviously if you feel differently then I understand and I will not contact you again."

Broe adds that he no longer needs medication in jail and that he had got his act together.

He says he cannot change what happened between himself and Kristian but that he can only learn from it.

"I am a completely different person than the one you met ten years ago," he pleads.

And he adds "I do hope that you get closure Kristian and that you can find it in your heart to forgive me or maybe understand what was going on with me at the time."

Broe finishes the letter by telling Kristian that if he has any more questions to get in touch.

"Perhaps I am putting the cart before the horse but I do hope we can draw a line underneath this and move on with our lives," he adds.

Giving his reaction to the letter, Mr Shortt said what his attacker has done in asking for forgiveness is a huge gesture.

And he said that if a man like Ken Broe with a chequered criminal past can do it, then there is no reason why the Kinehans and Hutch families can't put down their arms.

He said "Ken attempted to murder me in the most brutal and humiliating fashion by hacking me to death with a knife, which is even more brutal than what you see in Dublin these days from a quick bullet. Ken went all out to obliterate me in gory fashion.

"He has been sentenced for the stabbing which runs concurrently to the extra 5 years he got for GBH on my body afterwards.

"He has every reason to be engulfed with hate and despair, but within his letter, he is not. He wrote me a very poignant letter which apologises to me for putting me through what he did and he has also apologised to my family in his letter. He told me personal things and how he struggled with it all.

In my eyes that takes great courage and conviction to do that. This apology was very moving for me to read, I let my mother read it and she was moved by it also, despite the fact that this man tried to brutally murder her son.

"Unbeknownst to Ken, I had already written a letter which I intended to give to him in prison when I move to Dublin in the New Year.

"And within my own letter I described to Ken that it takes men of character and true conviction to forgive somebody who tried to kill them, and without having yet delivered my letter to him, he writes this charismatic and touching letter to me apologising for the hurt he has caused.

"If only the killers and the would-be killers in these Dublin gangs could read this and learn from our mistakes and realise that violence is NOT the answer, that killing people is wrong and what they are doing will achieve nothing but unhappiness, despair and misery for them and everybody around them.

"They could learn from Ken and I, men who once stood in their positions, that we now have taken responsibility for our past and our wrongdoings and that is what now elevates us into the realms of real men, of real warriors. Both Ken and I, now realise that."

Adding that he was "proud of Ken" for fighting his own demons, Mr Shortt said he forgave the man who almost killed him.

"I forgive Ken Broe now of course, how could I not, because he has done something I feel is worthy of the Gods. He swallowed his biggest bullet and asked forgiveness of the man he tried to kill and forgiveness from his family.

"I can say with the utmost sense of humility, that I am proud of Ken for fighting his own demons and rising up as a man to take responsibility for what he did in his past.

"That is a powerful notion and symbol I think all criminals across Ireland, especially the gangs of Dublin, could learn such a valuable lesson from it, and to really really look at and consider all of this the next time they reach for their guns or their knives to do harm to others.

"It takes the biggest and bravest of men to swallow their pride, take responsibility and do what Ken Broe has done here. And if his friends or family read this then I would hope they would pass on that message to him from me and I hope that they can be proud of him and visit him in prison over the next 10 years with that in their minds and hearts."

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