UCD assault victim out of coma


UCD student Natasha McShane, who suffered serious head injuries in an attack by a mugger wielding a baseball bat in Chicago last month, is out of a coma, her parents have said.

The 23-year-old postgraduate student who was studying at the University of Illinois in Chicago, was with a friend, Stacy Jurich (24), when they were attacked while on the way back to Ms Jurich’s house in the Bucktown area of the US city.

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.

"She is awake, but still only demonstrating limited brain activity," they said in a statement through Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she remains in a serious condition.

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

The family said it had received many offers to help with her medical expenses and had set up a Natasha McShane Care Account at the North Bank in Chicago to this end.

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.

Members of the public can also make donations through Natasha's employer Butch McGuire. Natasha had been working part-time at the Irish bar prior to the attack.

Ms McShane completed her primary degree at Queen’s University in Belfast and completed an MA in urban and regional planning at UCD. In 2008 she was awarded a cross-Border scholarship, organised by Universities Ireland.

Heriberto Viramontes (30) and Marcy Cruz (25) are both charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery in connection with the incident. The judge denied bail for Mr Viramontes saying he posed too big a danger. Bail was set at $1 million for Ms Cruz.