Further charges over student attack


Two people have been charged with attempted murder in connection with the mugging of an Irish student in Chicago.

Heriberto Viramontes (30) and his girlfriend Marcy Cruz (25) were both charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery in connection with the attack that left UCD student Natasha McShane with serious head injuries.

These charges have now been upgraded to include attempted murder.

Ms McShane, who was studying at the University of Illinois in Chicago, was with a friend, Stacy Jurich (24), when they were attacked by a mugger wielding a baseball bat while on the way back to Ms Jurich’s house in the Bucktown area of the US city last month.

Ms McShane has been transferred to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The 23-year-old postgraduate student is said to be awake, but still only demonstrating limited brain activity.

Her parents, Liam and Sheila McShane, said doctors had relieved pressure on their daughter's brain which resulted from the injuries she sustained in the vicious assault. They confirmed that she has also been weaned off coma-inducing medications.

Although her movements are “uncontrolled” at the moment, the family said they were hopeful for additional encouraging signs.

“With the advanced treatments and therapies she will receive at the RIC, together with continued prayer, the family is hopeful that Natasha will soon recognise her parents, say her first words, and over time, realise her full potential. The family anxiously awaits the moment that they hear Natasha’s voice again,” the family said in a statement.

A website, helpnatasha.net, has also been set up to help raise money for Ms McShane's family who have flown from Ireland and Australia to be at her side.