A woman who was one of two females savagely attacked with in an unprovoked assault with a baseball bat in Chicago four years ago has said she is still traumatized by memories of her ordeal.
Stacy Jurich was tagged the 'lucky one' after the vicious mugging in April 2010 that left her Irish pal, Natasha McShane, permanently disabled.
The girls had been walking home after a night out when a man savagely beat them as they passed under a viaduct.
McShane, 27, an exchange student from Co. Armagh, was left brain-damaged by the incident and unable to walk or talk.
But Jurich, 23, who needed more than 15 stitches in the back of her head and suffered some vision loss, has told of the heavy emotional scars she still bears since the nightmare event.
Her attacker, Heriberto Viramontes, is due to be sentenced in the coming days, after he was found guilty last October of attempted murder, armed robbery and aggravated robbery.
Marcy Cruz, who drove him away from the crime scene, has already been sentenced to 22 years behind bars.
But only now has Jurich, who is the granddaughter of a police sergeant, been able to speak about her memories of the horrific attack and the impact it's had on her life.
In an interview with The Chicago Tribune, Jurich, who is engaged, admitted she is still reduced to tears when she thinks back to the assault, which also left her with serious injuries, seizures and unable to work.
She recalled that when she finally regained consciousness in hospital two days after their attack, she couldn't shake off the horror she had witnessed.
"I said, 'No, no, no', because I still remembered. I saw her on the ground. I saw her, and there was blood everywhere. It wasn't just my blood. I said, 'Where is she'?"
On the night she was left disabled for life, McShane had just been offered an internship that would have allowed her to extend her visa in the US.
But instead, her devastated family faced the nightmare scenario of flying her back to the family home in Northern Ireland, where – according to the Daily Mail – she struggles to accomplish even the smallest of tasks, such as drinking from a cup.
Jurich also told of the sense of guilt that haunts her when she thinks of the devastating injures her Irish friend suffered.
In tribute to her pal, she designed a tattoo, featuring two roses to represent the friends and an Irish cross to symbolize McShane's home country.
Jurich, who has worked tirelessly with the police to bring her attacker to justice, said she is still in contact with McShane and wants to visit her again in the future.
She added: "I just want to see her and to let let her know that I didn't give up the fight."