'She's a hero, she saved his life': 13-year-old praised for diving over baby nephew during machete attack

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Peter Smith

The family of a 13-year-old girl, who threw herself over the top of her baby nephew to protect him from a machete attack, have described her as a hero.

Geraldine Joyce's selfless actions left her critically injured, suffering a collapsed lung and 300 stitches, but 11-month-old John is unharmed.

It happened during an attack on their grandmother's home in County Fermanagh on Saturday night.

Elizabeth has praised her granddaughters selfless actions. Credit: ITV News

First they went for Elizabeth, John's grandmother, and when they started wielding weapons, Geraldine's instinct was to protect her baby nephew.

Elizabeth told ITV News: "She's only 13-years-old, but Geraldine is a very clever little girl as well as Godmother and aunt, she's also a hero now, she saved his life."

"She has courage, it's in her blood," she added.

John's grandmother's injuries after the machete attack. Credit: ITV News

Elizabeth continued: "She is very sore, she is in hospital in a critical condition, critical but stable."

She also suffered her own injuries, slashed multiple times, while fighting off the armed men.

She described the night as "a terrifying experience" before adding: "we're very traumatised, we want justice."

Christopher Joyce called Geraldine a 'hero'. Credit: ITV News

The baby's father, Christopher Joyce, told ITV News: "She saved my son's life and she's a hero in my eyes and everyone else's eyes."

Her attackers are known to the family and are out on the run.

PSNI Det Sgt Keith Monaghan said it "must have been a terrifying ordeal for those involved" and added the force was determined to find the men responsible.

The officer added: "We have several lines of enquiry which we are progressing at this time but I would ask anyone with information or who noticed any suspicious activity in the area to contact detectives in Enniskillen and pass that information on."

But baby John is unharmed and the Joyce family wants Geraldine to be known as a hero who selflessly put his life before her own.