A LOCAL mother has described how thugs “used her son’s head like a football” during a vicious and unprovoked attack in Omagh town centre at the weekend.
Twenty-one-year-old Matthew Fitzsimons was walking alone on High Street shortly after 2.30am on Sunday morning when the shocking assault occurred.
He later reported to police that at least four older males attacked him, kicking and punching him on the ground.
Thankfully two men intervened to rescue Matthew before a tragedy could occur and the assailants ran off, jumping into a black people-carrier style vehicle and fleeing the scene.
According to Matthew’s mother Paula, the attackers had no intention of stopping their assault and she praised the brave actions of the two men who came to the aid of her son, a rescue she feels invariably saved his life.
“Matthew’s memory of the incident is hazy but he knows there was at least four men dragging him along the street and kicking him on the ground,” she explained.
“He was unable to get up as they continued to kick him in the head. Thankfully a couple of friends of my daughter’s saw what was happening and was able to drag the men off him.
“They told us these men had no intention of stopping as they were getting stuck in hell for leather, burying the kicks as hard as they could into Matthew’s head.
“I am so thankful they were there to intervene and stop it being any worse. After this they ran and got away in a black seven-seater car.”
Following the attack Matthew was able to get up and was assisted into a taxi. However it was upon arrival at home, clothing ripped, he collapsed.
His family immediately drove him to the Omagh Hospital, where medical staff advised he be taken to the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen.
Stopping on a few occasions for Matthew to be sick, he was admitted to the hospital and underwent CT scans and was discharged 36 hours later.
However, the family were given instructions to closely monitor Matthew and not let him sleep for more than an hour at a time over the next seven days. Matthew must attend another appointment with the brain injury team to assess his condition.
Mum Paula this week appealed for people to think of the consequences before carrying out these needless assaults, that could so easily take a life.
“Incidents and assaults like this are happening all too frequently in this town. It is a disgrace and there will be another tragedy if actions like this continues,” said Paula.
She added, “I stay awake until my children are home as you can’t sleep worrying that something like this could happen. Matthew came into my room and he passed out at the foot of my bed.
“We got him up and took him to hospital. He has had CT scans in Enniskillen.
“Thank God he is going to be fine, but there are still some follow ups to do with the brain injury team to assess the bruising on his brain.
“We have seen how just one-punch can prove fatal, so I would appeal for people to stop this mindless violence.”