The family of Scott Vineer has reacted with relief after the Lisburn teenager who subjected their autistic son to a horrifying attack three years ago, pleaded guilty to causing him grievous bodily harm with intent, on Tuesday.
Ryan Craig, from Ashmount Gardens was due to go on trial for attempted murder at Craigavon Court but pleaded guilty to carrying out the sickening attack, which left 19-year-old Scott with mobility problems, memory loss, severe brain damage and tremors on the left hand side of his body.
So severe were his injuries that doctors believed that Scott would not survive as he spent six gruelling months recovering at the Royal Victoria Hospital, three of them in a coma.
Scott went missing in September 2012, after spending the day at the local college.
When he did not return home his worried mother knew something was wrong and contacted the police.
It was not until the following night that Scott was found with severe brain injuries lying at the towpath on the Laganbank Road, near a disused building.
Scott’s mother Helen-Louise recalls seeing her helpless son bruised and battered for the first time, lying in hospital with tape on his eyes and breathing through a tube.
“I could not believe what I was seeing,” she said.
But it is those same images of her son back in 2012 that remind Helen-Louise just how lucky she is and more determined than ever to look forward to the future.
“Thankfully, we can just try to leave this all behind us now,” she said.
“It has taken three very long years to get this. I am getting married in August – the day after the sentence. Scott will be there as best man. There will be no prouder mum that day.
“He has got through this not only because of his strength but through sheer determination.
“That is the sort of person he is. He will not be beaten, and we as a family will not be beaten.
“We were told by doctors that Scott would not survive this but he did. He is walking and talking and is alive - that is the outcome that I have wanted.
“We were told he would would be in a vegatative state now look at him. I knew Scott would get the strength from somewhere to pull through.
“He is quite a determined young man and a very strong human being. He is not the sort of person that would simply lie down roll over.”
She continued, “I am very proud of my Scott. He is a good person. We have got the result we wanted. Scott is alive and well. For me that is more than I could ever wish for.”