The parents of Stephen Donegan, the Irishman left fighting for his life after a weekend assault in Liverpool, are maintaining a bedside vigil at the hospital where he is in an induced coma.
Mr Donegan, 24, from Shanballymore, near Doneraile in north Cork, suffered a serious head injury during the attack outside a nightclub in the northern English city in the early hours of Saturday morning. Since then he has been in a critical but stable condition in hospital, while a 19-year-old from Liverpool has been charged with assault.
The incident has shocked the family and friends of Mr Donegan, also known as Stevie, who had been in Liverpool on a stag party.
The group had hoped to attend the FA Cup quarter-final match at Anfield between Liverpool and Blackburn on Sunday afternoon, but those plans changed when Mr Donegan fell victim to a vicious assault in an alleyway near Concert Square close to the The Walkabout bar and Level nightclub shortly after around 2am on Saturday.
Two 19-year-old men were arrested on Sunday afternoon after they presented themselves at a police station.
Yesterday one of the men, who is from Kirkdale in Liverpool, was released without charge with no further action likely, but the other, named as Kyle Hartley of Seymour St, Wirral, was charged with assault and remanded to appear again at Liverpool Magistrate’s Court.
Mr Donegan’s friends are understood to have returned home from Liverpool while his parents, Connie and Catherine, as well as his sister, Sinead, travelled to Liverpool to be at his bedside.
There are increasing hopes that while he is in an induced coma, he will shortly regain consciousness. Mr Donegan, a keen hurler, is being treated at the Walton Centre NHS foundation at the Royal Liverpool Hospital.
As his family will him to recover, Merseyside Police are continuing the investigation into the incident. CCTV footage taken in the area has already been recovered and some witnesses have come forward, although police are still keen to speak with anyone who was in the area at the time of the attack. In particular, police want to speak to three women who were in the vicinity of the alleyway, off Fleet Street, at around 2.20am.
Detective Inspector Matthew Kerr of Merseyside Police had described the incident as “a nasty attack on a man who had been enjoying a night out”.
He also said he could reassure people that incidents like this are “rare” and that there would be an increase in patrols in that part of Liverpool city centre.
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