Victim needed 200 stitches after being stabbed by teen in halting site row

John Whitehouse
John Whitehouse

THESE are the horrific injuries sustained by a man after he was knifed in the back by a teenager on a halting site in Co. Galway.

John Whitehouse (51), needed more than 200 stitches after he was slashed across the back when he attempted to defend his girlfriend.

John, from Balbriggan in north Dublin, said he had travelled to Tuam for a two-week holiday last Saturday, when the incident occurred at a halting site in the town. 

“My girlfriend is from Tuam and I was down for a holiday. Around 11.30pm that night a young fella started saying something to a girl there. Then he grabbed my girlfriend by the head and hit her two punches,” said John.

“I shouted at him and he took off and went around to the far side of the site. Four of them came back around with him and his father started asking me to fight.”

He said he had never been involved in any previous feud with the men and doesn’t know what the situation was about. 


The huge injury inflicted on John Whitehouse

John’s cousin, Benny Whitehouse, was shot dead by a notorious criminal gang, but John said the Tuam incident was not linked to that and he is not involved in any feud.

“There was no arguing, no fighting. The father asked me to fight him. I said I wasn’t there for trouble,” he said.

“He said to me come out and fight me now. When I headed out towards him – he wasn’t taking no for an answer – the young fella came from behind me and slit open my back. I got 200 stitches. The older fella wanted to still fight me while I was cut.”

He said he was “opened up” by the knife attack and thought he was going to die. 

“It was about an inch away from my lung. When the guard was brining me into the ambulance, he said I’d be lucky if I made it. I blacked out and next thing I was in hospital. I was two hours and 40 minutes on the operating table. I’m lucky to be alive, the doctor said that to me.”

John spent two nights in hospital before releasing himself. He said he has made statements to Gardaí, but his attackers continued to taunt him in the town before he returned to Dublin. 


John's family were stunned by the attack

“They were making a laugh of me while I was still in the town, driving by sticking his head out the van looking over at me and then driving by the girlfriend’s house doing the same thing.”

He returned back to Dublin on Thursday and said he never wants to go back to Tuam.

“Galway city is a nice place but I advise all my friends never to go to Tuam again. I nearly lost my life in it for nothing,” John said. 

“I’ll never go back to Tuam again. My girlfriend will never go back. She’ll move back up here to me. 

“I’m an easy-going bloke, I’m harmless. I don’t go out causing trouble and don’t go looking for trouble.”

Relatives of John had previously been targeted by a traveller criminal in Balbriggan who is also believed to have been responsible for the murder of Benny Whitehouse, who was shot dead four years ago. However, the attack in Tuam is not linked to this dispute.  

Gardaí in Tuam have taken a number of statements and are investigating the attack. 

The suspected attacker is a 17-year-old living in the Tuam area. He has been linked to previous vicious assaults.