Giffords' Husband: 'Every Day Is A Struggle'

Giffords' Husband: 'Every Day Is A Struggle'

Former US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has come face to face in court with the man who tried to kill her.

Her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, told Jared Loughner his deadly shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona, in January 2011 had upended her life.

He told the court: "Her life has been forever changed. Every day is a continuous struggle to do those things she once was so good at.

"Mr Loughner, you may have put a bullet through her head but you haven't put a dent in her spirit and her commitment to make the world a better place."

Ms Giffords embraced her husband and they then walked away, with her limping.

Loughner showed no emotion as his mother sobbed in the courtroom.

The 24-year-old faces life in prison after admitting 19 federal charges - including murder and attempted assassination - as part of a plea deal three months ago.

The plea means he will avoid the death penalty.

Ms Giffords joined other victims of the mass shooting - which took place outside a supermarket - for the sentencing.

Loughner had earlier told the judge he would not be speaking.

Susan Hileman, who was shot three times during the rampage, scolded Loughner and said his parents, college and community had failed him.

Ms Giffords has made a remarkable recovery from the traumatic head injuries she suffered, but has since retired from her political post.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Loughner will likely see out his life in a prison psychiatric unit, with no possibility of parole.

He was originally judged to be mentally unfit to stand trial and diagnosed as schizophrenic.

But he then underwent months of forced medication and treatment to restore his competency at a federal prison hospital in Missouri.

Psychologists eventually decided he could be tried, just before the plea deal was finalised.

The sentencing will mark the end of the federal case against Loughner, but he could still be tried for murder and other crimes in the Arizona state court.