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File photo of a "get well soon" card in the bar where Natasha was working when the attack happened Nam Y. Huh/AP/Press Association Images
Natasha McShane

Friend of Irish student tells Chicago court of savage attack

The 27-year-old from Armagh has been left with extensive brain injuries as a result of the 2010 baseball bat assault, and still needs help carrying out basic tasks.

THE FRIEND OF a Co Armagh student has given evidence at the Chicago trial of the man accused of her attempted murder.

Natasha McShane, from Silverbridge, has been left with extensive brain injures and speech problems as a result of the 2010 attack, and still needs help walking.

Heriberto Viramontes is on trial in the US city charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery and armed robbery in connection with the baseball bat attack on Natasha and her friend Stacey Jurich in April 2010.

Jurich was the first witness called by the prosecution, according to ABC 7 News Chicago, and told the court: “I heard my head being hit and I felt excruciating pain. And I lost my equilibrium.”

Jurich said she also saw her friend hit on the head. “She was not moving on the ground. The blood started coming out of her head. I took my jacket and supported her head as much as I could. And I ran for help.”

The two young women were walking in the Bucktown area of Chicago when they were beaten and left in the street. Authorities say Viramontes stole the women’s purses before fleeing the scene.

The accused’s attorney said she would call a witness to testify that he saw another man with a baseball bat in the area shortly before the attack took place.

Jurors in the trial were also shown video evidence of Natasha, who’s now 27, struggling through physical therapy and having difficulty carrying out basic everyday tasks.

Her mother Sheila told the court that her daughter, who had been studying at the University of Illinois, “doesn’t speak or walk on her own”.

“She suffered two seizures. One so severe she had to have hip surgery because she was shaking so badly and ultimately her hip had to be replaced.”

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

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