Mother of one Brenda McLoughlin sustained severe injuries to her skull when she was attacked with a cordless drill in a suspected homophobic attack at around 2am on Saturday morning.
The 38 year-old told police she believed she was attacked by a 17 year-old male on Railway street because she is homosexual.
The attack is now been treated as a hate crime by police.
Yesterday, the victims family released a statement to the Belfast Telegraph in which they thanked those who assisted Ms MLaughlin at the scene, in the hospital and as she recovers.
They also gave thanks to the LGBT+ community, including the Rainbow Project, who have provided support.
“We would like to thank all the hospital staff,” they wrote. “Especially all the doctors and nurses in casualty and in the intensive care unit and high dependency units of Altnagelvin Hospital.
“We would also like to thank all the people who helped at the scene, to all the well-wishers, the LGBT+ community and the Rainbow Project.
“Brenda is doing well, she is now stable and she would like to thank everyone for the support throughout the past few days.
“We now ask the Press and the public to let us have our privacy to deal with everything that has happened.”
Police confirmed that she was subjected to the horrific attack with a cordless drill.
The detective said: “It is my understanding that the victim has since told the medical staff that she heard the noise of the drill and felt her head being twisted.
“There does appear to be some sort of hole in the skull but I cannot say how severe it is.”
Initially, her injuries were deemed to be life-threatening, she is now stable although her condition is still critical.
The teenager appeared in Omagh Magistrates Court on Monday and stands accused of having an offensive weapon and also alleged to have unlawfully and maliciously caused grievous bodily harm to Ms McLaughlin.
He is also accused of stealing a power drill belonging to the nightclub.District Judge King remanded the teenager in custody, to appear by video link at Strabane Magistrates’s Court on May 18th.
Mc Laughlin’s family has been offered support by the Rainboz Project, who said they were horrified by the incident.
Rainbow Project officer Aisling Twomey said:
“There is absolutely no excuse for someone being targeted because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
“Hate crime robs people of their confidence and their independence.
“This attack could have left the victim with a serious, life-changing injury or led to a fatality. We echo the comments of District Judge Peter King, who described it as an inexplicably violent incident during the initial hearing on Monday.
“I would ask the local community in Strabane to give the PSNI the space they need to carry out their investigation and report any information about this assault to PSNI 101 or Crime stoppers immediately.
“I would encourage any person experiencing violence or intimidation as a result of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity to report it to the PSNI on 101.
“If they don’t feel comfortable with the police, then they can speak directly to the Rainbow Project’s advocacy service by emailing [email protected]
“All our thoughts are with the victim and her family and we wish her the best during her recovery.”
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