Blackburn mum brutally attacked by brother
Updated 4:17pm Monday 27th January 2014 in News
A BLACKBURN mum received 'horrific' injuries when she was brutally attacked by her brother.
Sharon O’Callaghan, 31, tried to intervene when she witnessed her brother, Stephen striking his girlfriend Alexea Gordon.
In a rage, Sharon’s brother turned on her, hitting her about the head and face until she was knocked unconscious.
Police have now praised her decision to warn other women in the hope it will encourage more victims to report domestic violence.
Sharon said: “I have very little memory of what happened and so I don’t know if he hit me with something or he just used his fists.
“My friend saw him hit me once but ran out of the room to stay with my little boy and stop him from seeing.
“When she came back into the kitchen she found me unconscious on the floor.”
Police attended the scene in Laxey Road and said that Sharon ‘had lost consciousness and was bleeding profusely.’
She was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital where she was given a CT scan and stitches for her head injury.
Sharon said she has since needed an MRI scan as her memory of the attack never fully returned and has also been treated for a broken nose and torn ligaments in her jaw.
Her 32-year-old bother, Stephen O’Callaghan was arrested the next day and appeared before Blackburn magistrates in July, but pleading not guilty to assaulting Sharon, causing her actual bodily harm.
He has since changed his plea to guilty of ABH at Preston Crown Court and is awaiting sentence next month. Alexea did not press charges and the pair remain a couple.
Sharon said that her brother’s violence had torn her family apart and she no longer had contact and little contact with her mother.
“My relationship with my mother will never be the same again.
“She wouldn’t make a statement against him. I just felt abandoned. “There’s a bond and a trust there that has just been broken now.”
Feeling alone, Sharon decided to share photographs of her injuries, which show her bleeding from her head and struggling to see through a swollen, bruised eye.
She said: “I decided to share it as a warning, really.
“If that’s what he will do to his own sister, then there’s no telling what he’ll do to other women.
“I am worried for his partner.
“She was a really good friend to me but I never see her now.
“In a way, even though it’s hard, I would prefer it if my brother was locked up and then he wouldn’t be able to do this to anyone else.”
Stephen was jailed in 2007 after being found guilty of assaulting a former girlfriend. According to the most recent statistics available, there was a 65 per cent increase nationally in the number of domestic violence prosecutions between 2005/6 and 2010/11.
Shigufta Khan, an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate based at The Wish Centre in Blackburn, said more women in the area have been coming forward and speaking out against domestic violence.
“We have been busier than ever over the past twelve months and I really think that women are feeling more empowered and more confident to speak out and to report crimes.
“Here in Blackburn we have been operating a pilot scheme wherein which every single instance of domestic abuse that is reported to police by a victim is immediately referred to us.
“We can then follow it up and provide care and support and even practical advice such as what a victim can do if they do not want to go through the court proceedings or how they can leave their partner in a way that minimises risk.
“Working so closely with the police has benefited us and benefited the police in Blackburn.
“It shows that victims of domestic abuse will be helped and will be listened to. “I think that it is great that women like Sharon are sharing their stories.
“So often victims of violence feel that they are totally alone and that nothing like this is happening to anyone else and what Sharon is doing is offering a type of peer support to other women that may be suffering.
“She is saying ‘this has happened to me so I know it can happen to you’.
“I think the more people speak out and come forward and engage in this kind of dialogue, the better.”
DC John Banks, who was in charge of Sharon’s case, said: “The injuries Sharon suffered were horrific.
“I am really pleased that Sharon has chosen to share her story and I hope that it encourages more victims to report these types of crimes.”