Family's bedside vigil for victim
TODAY should be one of the happiest days of Ned Gemmill's young life - but instead he is fighting for his life.The Suffolk man, who was the victim of a vicious assault outside Zest night club in Ipswich, was due to celebrate his 21st birthday with a family meal tonight.
TODAY should be one of the happiest days of Ned Gemmill's young life - but instead he is fighting for his life.
The Suffolk man, who was the victim of a vicious assault outside Zest night club in Ipswich, was due to celebrate his 21st birthday with a family meal tonight.
Now any celebratory thoughts have been pushed to one side, with his mother, father, brother and sister keeping a constant vigil at his bedside.
He remains in a critical condition in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, following Sunday's early morning attack, for which Suffolk police are still hunting the culprits.
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His mother Jane is desperate for people to come forward to help trace the gang responsible.
She said: "I don't know anything about what happened but I would appeal for anyone who did see it to come forward.
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"These people need to be caught so this type of thing doesn't happen to another family. How would they feel if it was their son, brother or friend?"
Mr Gemmill, who lives in Clare and worked on various "outdoor" jobs, has been operated on for his head injuries. He is being monitored round the clock by hospital staff.
Mrs Gemmill, who is married to David and has two other children, Jenni and Jack, said: "We've been there all night and all day. It's just a case of waiting really. The doctors just say he's critical. He's had an operation on his head so it must've been a particularly vicious attack. We're working hour by hour."
She added the family are united in prayer as they hope for good news about Ned's condition.
"We're all just praying at the moment - that's all that's keeping us going," she said. "I've phoned a lot of people he knew to tell them and I've just asked to pray with us.
"One of us has been here all of the time. We've been rotating. We know he's in the best place possible and is having the best treatment he can get."
Mrs Gemmill said news of Ned's condition has spread fast around the village, where he was brought up and went to school.
She said: "He's got lots of friends in Clare. He's lived here all of his life and his friends are the ones he's had since he was a child.
"I think a lot of people have heard about it because it's such a close-knit community. A lot of have been ringing asking if they can come and see him but I've been telling them it's best to wait at the moment."
It was while out with four friends celebrating his birthday in Ipswich that the vicious assault took place.
It is believed he and a friend had had a brief altercation with the offending group, which comprised of two black males and four white males.
Mr Gemmill was then punched, causing him to fall to the floor, before receiving a blow to his head from one of the offending group.
Two women then intervened to pull the offender away, who then walked off with his group across the Princes Street bridge and towards Ancaster Road.
Paramedics arrived soon after to take Mr Gemmill to Ipswich Hospital, but he was transferred to Addenbrooke's at about 3.30pm the same day to undergo his operation.
Mrs Gemmill added: "He was out with his friends celebrating his 21st birthday. We were going to go out for a meal tonight but obviously we won't do anything now.
"It's devastating for the whole family because we're very close knit."
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to detective sergeant Bernie Morgan at Ipswich CID on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.