NI couple in Benidorm gang shooting terror

Julie Smyth and and Shaun McGavigan pictured in Benidrom before Shaun was shot, and (right) Shaun with his injuries before returning home.
Julie Smyth and and Shaun McGavigan pictured in Benidrom before Shaun was shot, and (right) Shaun with his injuries before returning home.
  • Pair caught in crossfire

A Londonderry woman has spoken of her horror after her boyfriend was shot as they tried to flee a gang war shoot-out in Benidorm.

Shaun McGavigan and his partner, Julie Smyth, were strolling through the popular New Town area of the Spanish resort during a romantic break away, when a suspected ‘turf war,’ between international gang rivals erupted and four shots rang out.

Julie Smyth and Shaun McGavigan in Benidorm before Shaun was shot.

Julie Smyth and Shaun McGavigan in Benidorm before Shaun was shot.

As the shocked couple ran from the pandemonium along with other innocent bystanders, Shaun called out that he had been shot in the crossfire.

The incident happened at around 11pm on Wednesday, July 4. The Strathfoyle couple said they were relieved to return to Londonderry last weekend after the dream holiday they had been so looking forward to turned into a living nightmare.

Shaun, 41, and Julie, 28, had flown to Benidorm on the Saturday prior to the shooting incident for a one week break.

“We were really looking forward to going on holiday,” Julie told the Derry Journal prior to leaving Benidorm.

Julie Smyth and and Shaun McGavigan pictured in Benidrom before Shaun was shot.

Julie Smyth and and Shaun McGavigan pictured in Benidrom before Shaun was shot.

“We were having such a good time, out enjoying the sunshine, shopping and having a few drinks. Everything was great until this happened.” Recalling the events of that night, she said: “We were in the New Town having a drink and I was a bit tired. We just got up and started to walk down the street and then this big fight just happened.

“There were 20 to 30 people fighting. They were fighting like animals. They were throwing chairs at each other and we started to run down the street.

“We then heard four shots and the second one hit Shaun on the leg. He said ‘I got shot’ and we just kept running down the street. Then I saw all the blood. It was awful.”

Julie said there were between 100m and 200m from the brawling gangs when the shots had been fired. “I started roaring and shouting ‘ help, help, he has been shot’.”

Julie praised all those who came to their aid, including a Welsh woman, Nadine Davies, who was in the area and applied first aid at the scene.

“They were fantastic,” she noted. “Two others came out and applied pressure to the wound but the blood just kept oozing out of him. I felt so scared.”

Spanish police then swooped into the area and cordoned off the street, while Shaun and Julie had to wait for an ambulance for Shaun.

Julie recalled. “When I got to the hospital they let me see him for half an hour and I then had to go back to the apartment then on my own.”

Shaun was one of three people injured during the shooting. The bullet, which had gone through Shaun’s leg just above his knee, had just missed a major artery. The couple arrived home last weekend and Shaun was treated at Altnagelvin Hospital.