Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Becoming Becoming a Mum Has a Mum Has Helped. I Helped. I Never Say: Never Say: Why Me? Why Me?

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Becoming Becoming a Mum Has a Mum Has Helped. I Helped. I Never Say: Never Say: Why Me? Why Me?

Article excerpt

Byline: Sophie Doughty Crime Reporter sophie.doughty@ncjmedia.co.uk

BLINDED in an airgun attack at just15, Nicola Diston will spend her life with the pellet lodged in her head.

The mum-of-two will forever be left with the damage caused when two yobs blasted her in the face.

Nicola's injury baffled medics when she arrived at hospital unaware of what had hit her in the eye.

And despite having a top doctor flown to Newcastle to treat her, nothing could be done to save the sight in her left eye.

In the final part of our Crime: The Victims' Stories series, Nicola tells of surviving such an attack at such an early age. And today she reveals how: She lost half her teenage years; | Motherhood has helped her move | on; Doctors told her she could be brain-|damaged during childbirth, and She fought for a change in the law to |make the country safer for children.

Nicola was with friends on Gateshead's Leam Lane estate when she was shot in November, 2001.

She was on her way to meet other pals when she was hit while walking through an underpass near Glynfellis Court flats.

"I remember everything from that day," she said.

"There was a little tunnel at the bottom of some old people's bungalows and I cut through it on my own. I didn't see the gun or the lads, I didn't see anything, then all of a sudden I felt this pain and I was pouring with blood.

"I think I thought I had been hit by a brick, all I can remember is screaming. I couldn't see and was terrified."

Nicola managed to stagger back to her friends and her sister drove her to the QE Hospital in Gateshead, where she was transferred to the specialist eye ward at the RVI in Newcastle.

Examinations revealed a pellet-shaped hole in her eyelid and a X-ray found the pellet which had irreparably damaged the optic nerve.

"They had to fly a doctor in because they had never seen someone with that sort of injury," Nicola said. "The next morning they told me I would never get my sight back. I was in complete shock. To think I would never see again out of that eye was a lot to take in."

Meanwhile detectives were hunting the sniper after finding the weapon hidden in a field. …

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