Man shot in both legs in Derry after threat to his life

Mother Louise Simpson says she thought her youngest child would die in her arms

George Jackson with Trevor McBride photographs

The mother of a man shot in both legs at home in the Brandywell area of Derry on Monday night said she hoped the two gunmen responsible would “rot in hell”.

Jonathan Simpson (23), who was advised by the police last month that his life was in danger from republican paramilitaries, was shot several times in both femurs.

He bled heavily and lost a lot of blood before ambulance paramedics saved his life by stemming the blood flow.


Speaking in their Brandywell Road home on Tuesday morning, the victim's mother Louise Simpson said she thought her youngest child would die in her arms.

“I was visiting friends in nearby Dove Gardens when I got a call last night that my son had been shot in my house. When I arrived home I could not believe what was before me. The living room floor was in a pool of blood and there were two massive blood clots on the floor. After the shot him they callously dragged him to the front door.

“An ambulance arrived and the paramedics said they were fighting to save Jonathan’s life, such was the scale of the blood loss.

"He was rushed to Altnagelvin Hospital but because of the serious nature of the injuries to his legs he was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. In hospital in Derry in the accident and emergency department he kept crying out for me.

“How dare these people do this to my youngest child? They weren’t content with just shooting him in the legs, they deliberately targeted his femurs.

‘Death threat’

“He has been living under a death threat since October and the entire family has been living in fear since that threat against his life was issued.

“I thought the love of my life, my youngest child, was dead when I arrived home.

“It was a scene no mother should ever have to witness. I don’t know who did this but I hope they rot in hell because they are nothing but scum.

“My son had to be resuscitated when he was rushed to hospital, such was the life-threatening nature of the gunshot wounds to his two legs,” she said.

PSNI Chief Insp Tony Callaghan said the victim was lucky to be alive.

“This was a particularly callous incident. Even by the brutal standards of previous similar incidents, this was a particularly savage attack.

“Early indications are that this man sustained particularly severe wounds with potentially life-changing injuries.

‘Particularly dangerous’

“This was not what some people call a ‘knee-capping’. This young man sustained gunshot wounds to his femurs - a particularly dangerous part of the body in which to inflict gunshot wounds.

“There can be little doubt that these injuries could have killed, indeed there have been other incidents in which fatalities have occurred in similar circumstances.

“We believe that at least two gunmen were involved in this incident, which occurred in the living room of this house at Brandywell Road. The suspected gunmen made their getaway in foot,” he said.

Local Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell said it was obvious the gunmen did not care whether their victim survived.

“The community has made it clear they do not want this sort of violence in this city. They want those responsible to cease their activities immediately.

“This was a vicious and cruel attack and anyone with information about it should bring that information to the proper authorities,” he said.