By Alan Healy

A Derry father-of-three who was left fighting for his life after being assaulted in the city centre three weeks ago now faces a ‘long road to recovery’, his family have said.

Danny Payne was assaulted in the Newmarket Street area of Derry in the early hours of Sunday, October 22, after having attended a friend’s birthday celebration at a nearby premises.

He suffered serious head injuries in the attack, while his wife Sarah suffered a torn retina.

Two people were arrested by police in relation to the incident, and a 19-year-old man is expected to appear at Derry Magistrates Court later this week charged with charged with grievous bodily harm with intent in connection with the assault.

An 18-year-old woman also arrested in connection with the same incident was released pending a report to the PPS (Public Prosecution Service).

After the assault, Mr Payne, a former volunteer with Foyle Search and Rescue organisation, was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where he underwent surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain.

He was then put into an induced coma in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Speaking to the Derry News yesterday, Mr Payne’s brother-in-law, Chris McElwee said that while he has now been transferred out of Intensive Care to a ward at the hospital, he now faces a long road to recovery.

“He’s out of ICU and been moved into a ward, and he is stable,” Mr McElwee said.

“But we have been told that we have a long way ahead of us.

“It’s going to be a long road to recovery, and while he is stable, he’s not out of the woods yet.”

Meanwhile, a fundraising page set up to help Mr Payne’s family with travel expenses has surpassed its target of £1,000 by raising almost £4,000.

Over 200 people have contributed to the Go Fund Me page since it was first set up the day after Mr Payne was assaulted.

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