A MOTHER who endured almost seven years of facial surgery after she suffered a savage beating in a Scottish hideout used by a convicted terrorist died a broken woman, an inquest has been told.
Nicola Davenport, 44, was punched, kicked, battered with a metal bar and had a plate broken over her head after being caught up in a row at a house party in Ayrshire in 2007.
The attack took place at a hideout in Troon used by Johnny “Mad Dog” Adair, a convicted terrorist who fled to Scotland after being expelled by the Ulster Defence Association in Belfast. He was not present at the time of the attack.
A police investigation discovered her attackers were friends of Adair. One woman, Jacqueline Irvine, was convicted of assault and charges against two others were dropped.
Miss Davenport, a mother-of-one, later contracted flesh-eating bacteria as a result of her injuries, which destroyed the skin around her scalp and her eyes. It left her disfigured for life and she had to wear sunglasses to hide the painful scars. She also had several skin grafts, including some to her eyelids.
On New Year’s Eve last year, Miss Davenport was found unconscious at her home in Bolton, Greater Manchester, by a friend. She was taken to hospital and died the following day from a blood clot on the brain.
Miss Davenport’s family yesterday blamed her death on the beating.
Her sister Jay, 33, said: “She lost her self-confidence because of the attack and never recovered from it. The bug she contracted made it all much worse.
“She had to have all the skin removed from her face, from her nose, all the way to the back of her head and you could nearly see through to the temples. She was always in and out of hospital. She said she had had enough and didn’t want to go on. It has been horrendous.”
Miss Davenport’s father, James, 69, said: “What happened to Nicola was sickening and she was always blown away by the fact one of her attackers only got six months. It seems her attackers were drugged up and battered her with a steel bar.
“One of these yobs even urinated on her. This attack was so life-changing it must have some connection with her death. My daughter was a beautiful, clever girl but her condition stopped her from doing things.
“The operations got too much for her and, in some ways, it was like she had given up. I don’t think she could take it any more even though she was a really strong girl.”
Miss Davenport’s GP, Dr Peter Saul, told the inquest that the procedures she went through were “very painful”.
She was prescribed strong painkillers and anti-depressants, as well as warfarin after developing a deep vein thrombosis.
Pathologist Dr Philip Lumb said her death was caused by bleeding to the brain. He added: “This is a naturally occurring bleed, although I can’t be sure what the original source was.”
Bolton assistant coroner Simon Jones recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.