Family move brings tragedy
MICHAEL and Theresa O'Connor moved from London to Ipswich three years ago to escape the violence and make a better life for their family.Today in the depths of their despair, they spoke publicly for the first time to pay tribute their youngest son Danny, who was fatally injured in an early morning fight after a night out in Ipswich.
MICHAEL and Theresa O'Connor moved from London to Ipswich three years ago to escape the violence and make a better life for their family.
Today in the depths of their despair, they spoke publicly for the first time to pay tribute their youngest son Danny, who was fatally injured in an early morning fight after a night out in Ipswich.
Danny Niall O'Connor died, aged just 23, in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge on May 12. He had sustained head injuries in a brawl on the outskirts of Ipswich town centre ten days earlier.
Danny's death has left a void which will never be filled for his parents, five brothers and 27-year-old sister Emma, who was with him on the night he was hurt
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Theresa said: "We came here from Hackney three years ago. The ironic thing is we moved up here to get away from the violence. It always used to worry me so and yet it has happened here. He elder brother Richard would have moved to Ipswich, but he won't now.
"Danny used to love coming up here to see his uncles and aunts. It was always a family thing. He would always have a cuddle for his family."
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Mrs O'Connor has been left so traumatised by her son's death she said she has not been able to go into Ipswich town centre since the incident.
Her husband, said the 55-year-old has hardly left her home since Danny died.
He said: "We try to get Theresa out but she just can't handle it."
Mr O'Connor, who worked as a floor layer with his self-employed son, said he has only just returned to work himself.
He said: "Danny used to work in Ipswich during the week and go back to London at the weekend.
"When I went to work they would they would always say ' Where's Danny' and now I have to meet all of these people it's going to be hard.
"I've just done two days this week. They are the first days I've done since he was injured."
Danny was a lifelong Arsenal supporter and his family said his presence lit up a room.
Mr O'Connor said: "He was cheeky, very cheeky."
The family recalled how Danny as the youngest child, would have a competition with Michael junior, who at 35 was the eldest, over which one was the best looking.
Mrs O'Connor said: "When Danny was dressed to go out he would look in the mirror and say 'You sexy boy' just to be cheeky. He would have a good laugh about it."
Danny's passion for music was never far from the surface either.
Emma, relived the last few hours she spent with Danny on the night he was fatally injured.
She said: "We had a great night out. I was just dancing and Danny was just standing back. I remember him going to the box (DJ booth) and saying 'Let me go on'. He liked to MC. He was always rapping."
But things turned nasty when Danny allegedly became embroiled in an argument at the bar.
When he and Emma left the club, the row is said to have flared up again and Danny was involved in a confrontation with another man on the corner of Silent Street and St Peter's Street.
Emma, 27, said: "I came round the corner and Danny was on the floor looking as if he was sleeping.
"He was trying to wake up but he couldn't. It was like he was in a deep sleep and mumbling. I just thought he had been knocked out but a man in a car told me to put him in the recovery position."
Danny's struggled for life for more than a week before succumbing to his injuries.
His dad said: "For 10 days we went to Addenbrooke's. He was supposed to be getting better but it all went wrong and his heart gave up. He never regained consciousness. He was our baby."
For Emma and her 18-month-old son Billy, Danny's death has left a void which will never be filled.
She said: "I have never, ever said goodbye to Danny. I am just waiting to say hello again. He was very affectionate.
"He would even give up his Saturday night to baby-sit for his nephews Frankie and JJ. He was everyone's favourite brother."
nAn Ipswich man, Dulu Miah, 23, of Spring Road, is currently remanded in custody awaiting trial accused of murder.
MR and Mrs O'Connor today recalled the moment every parent of a young adult dreads.
They were awoken early on May 2 by police to be told Danny had been badly hurt.
Mrs O'Connor said: "At 5am two officers took us to Ipswich Hospital. They just said he had a big blood clot and we had to get to the hospital. When we got there they were having to transfer him to Addenbrooke's."
For more than a week Danny clung to life, but eventually he lost the battle.
Mrs O'Connor said: "He was on a life support machine. Emma got a call to say we had got to get there. I wanted to kiss him goodbye, but they (the hospital staff) wouldn't let me because I was so distressed."
Danny died at 1.30am on May 12, his brother Nicky's 32nd birthday.
Now his family are awaiting release of Danny's body so they can plan for his funeral, and they expect a large gathering to be there to pay their respects.
Mr O'Connor said: "We have had to hire a bigger church because there are going to be lots of people there.
"They (the police) said it could be two to three months before his body is released. It really hurts not being able to bring him home."
Mr and Mrs O'Connor said Danny would be buried with his grandmother, Joyce's, ashes in his coffin. Joyce died on Christmas Day last year.
The pair will be laid to rest at the Millennium Cemetery in Ipswich.