Joleen Corr close to death after legal ruling

By Ali Gordon

Image source, Colm O'Reilly/Sunday Life
Image caption,
Joleen Corr with her family

A woman is close to death at a Belfast hospice following a legal ruling believed to be the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Joleen Corr, 27, was attacked at her home in Downpatrick in December 2016.

The mother-of-one has spent the last 16 months in a vegetative state, needing round-the-clock care.

A judge ruled that Ms Corr could no longer be kept alive due to the extreme pain caused by her injuries.

The administration of food and fluids will be stopped on Monday, and it is expected that Ms Corr will live for no more than 10 days.

"We are absolutely devastated - there are no words to describe it," Ms Corr's mother, Carol, told the BBC.

"She'd have been proud to have been a history maker though, even if it is for something like this. She fought so hard for so long and we are all so proud of her for that."

'Bubbliest, most beautiful girl'

She added: "I feel like when she was beaten up, we lost her, but now we've lost her all over again and this time it's forever.

"My heart has been ripped out and shattered into a million pieces.

"The staff at Northern Ireland Hospice are going to keep her as comfortable as they can, but we know that within the next few days we'll be saying our goodbyes.

"It's not fair on her to make her have to cope with this pain any longer. The injuries she sustained when she was beaten up have finally got too much for her.

"Joleen was the happiest, bubbliest, most loving and beautiful girl in the world. She was a great mum too - everything she did was for her son - and I'm going to miss her so much."

Michael O'Connor is the only man charged in connection with the attack. In January, he pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and grievous bodily harm. He is currently remanded in custody at Maghaberry Prison.

No date has yet been set for trial.