Fundraising campaign launched to help Derry city centre assault victim
A fundraising campaign has been launched online to help the family of a man who was hospitalised after a serious assault in the city centre at the weekend.
Danny Payne, in his 30s, sustained serious injuries to his head during the assault and is currently in a critical condition in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
Mr. Payne is a former volunteer with local charity, Foyle Search and Rescue.
The fundraising campaign was set-up on GoFundMe.com by Mr. Payne's friend, Craig Gardiner.
"As most of you already know Danny was the victim of a vicious assault in early hours of Sunday October 22 in Londonderry city centre," said Mr. Gardiner.
"Anybody that knows Danny knows he is an absolute gentleman with a heart of gold, he has been heavily involved in charity work within our city for a number of years, giving time out of his own life to help others in need.
"I’ve set this page up to try and generate some funds to help the family of Danny with travel expenses to and from Belfast, loss of earnings and generally just to try and ease the burden of money at this difficult time. Please donate, I know Danny and I know he’d be the first to help others when in need," he added.
The fundraising target of £1,000 set by Mr. Gardiner was met and surpassed within hours of the page going live online.
The total amount raised at the time of publishing was £1,075.
Meanwhile, detectives from the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch are making a direct appeal to a couple they believe were in the immediate vicinity of the assault in Newmarket Street in the early hours of Sunday October 22.
Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell said: “I am appealing directly to a man and a woman who were in the vicinity of the assault to come forward to police as they may be able to assist with the investigation.
"The man was wearing a coat and T-shirt - both dark in colour - and blue jeans while the assault was taking place in Newmarket Street. However, directly following the assault, he was seen walking in William Street not wearing his coat. At this stage a large tattoo was clearly visible on his left forearm.
“The woman has long, dark coloured hair and was wearing blue jeans, brown shoes and a three-quarter length green coat."
D.C.I. Caldwell added: “I would like the couple, or anyone who recognises their descriptions, to contact detectives in Strand Road on 101 quoting reference 209 22/10/2017 as soon as possible. Or, alternatively if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.
“Police would like to thank members of the public for their patience and ask them to avoid the area if possible while the investigation into this serious assault continues.”