The policeman leading the investigation into a brutal sectarian assault which left a Derry father-of-one in a vegetative state says there are people in loyalist communties across the city who can identify those involved in the attack.
Paul McCauley (35), from Prehen, was attacked by a loyalist gang at a barbecue in the Waterside on July 16, 2006.
He will need round the clock care for the rest of his life after suffering severe brain injuries.
Yesterday, police renewed their appeal for information on the attack.
The officer in charge of the case, Detective Chief Inspector Ian Harrison, from Serious Crime Branch, says the investigation remains “open and active.”
He said: “Over the past year, we have made several arrests and our enquiries will continue. But the key to apprehending those involved in the attack on Paul lies in the community.
“We believe as many as 15 people were involved and we are asking local people to think about what they know and to come forward and talk to us.”
Paul was attending a summer BBQ at the rear of a house in Chapel Road when the attack took place.
A group of up to 15 people emerged from bushes and set upon Paul and two of his friends.
After the assault, the group made off in the direction of Irish Street.
One man, Daryl Proctor from the Fountain area of the city, was later jailed for 12 years for his part in the attack.
Police say that a total of 25 people have been arrested and interviewed as part of their investigation.
DCI Ian Harrison added: “Another year has passed and the McCauley family is still waiting for justice.
“I would again appeal to those individuals who were there that night, and those who know who was there, to examine their consciences, to think about Paul and the McCauley family, their suffering and their heartache.
“On the sixth anniversary of the attack, I am appealing again to people in the Irish Street, Clooney, Lincoln Courts, and Fountain areas. I know there are people in those communities who can identify Paul’s attackers.
“I am asking you to examine your conscience and do the right thing.
“We have a dedicated team of detectives who are actively pursuing any leads that will bring justice for Paul and for his family and friends. If you have any information, now is the time to tell us.”
Paul McCauley’s father, Jim, has criticised what he described as the lack of progress in the police investigation, labelling it a “failure.”
He told the ‘Journal’: “Six years on, our experience is one of frustration.
“We can only describe the police investigation as a failure.
“There is a feeling that the police force is not fit for purpose, ” he claimed.
Mr. McCauley believes his son’s attackers are being protected by loyalist elements in the Waterside and the Fountain and has spoken of a ‘wall of silence’ in the Protestant community in relation to the attack.
Mr McCauley has also raised concerns over the fact that his son has to pay for his own care.
“Paul requires specialist care and he has to pay for this from his own resources,” he said.
“The care currently costs in the region of £2,500 a month which is paid for from Paul’s civil service pension. Paul is being accelerated into poverty in order to pay for his own care.
“Paul receives his standard Disability Living Allowance which obviously comes nowhere near to the fee that’s required to keep him in a private care home.
“The irony in all of this is that there is money coming from a range of sources, including Irish government sources, for the very same loyalist communities who are continuing to protect these would-be murderers while Paul had to pay for his own care,” he said.
Anyone with information relating to the attack on Paul McCauley can contact police on 0845 600 8000. Alternatively, information can be passed on anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on freephone 0800 555 111.