PSNI insist attack probe remains open

Paul McCauley, who has been in a coma for six years following a sectarian attack. (1307MM10)
Paul McCauley, who has been in a coma for six years following a sectarian attack. (1307MM10)
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The PSNI have said they remain “committed” to investigating the sectarian attack which took place six years ago and has left Prehen man Paul McCauley in a vegetative state.

The police were responding to strong criticism of the investigation from Jim McCauley, Paul’s father, speaking before the sixth anniversary of the attack on Monday.

Paul, a Catholic father-of-one, was attending a barbecue with a group of friends at a house on Chapel Road in the Waterside area of the city when he was set upon by a group of up to 15 men in an unprovoked sectarian attack in July 2006.

The Independent Monitoring Commission which was set up to monitor paramilitary activity, later reported that the attack was carried out by UDA elements.

Mr McCauley criticised what he described as the lack of progress in the investigation, labelling it a “failure.”

To date only one person has been convicted in connection with the July 2006 attack. Darryl Proctor, from the Fountain area of the city, was given a 12 year sentence for his part in the incident. However, because the crime took place before July 2007, he is eligible for 50 per cent remission, and is likely to serve six years.

The PSNI have insisted, however, that the investigation remains open. “Nearly six years after a sectarian assault in Derry, which left 34-year-old Paul McCauley in a vegetative state, the police investigation remains open and we remain committed to bringing those involved in this senseless attack before the courts. The assault took place on open ground at the back of a house in Chapel Road in the early hours of 16 July 2006.

“One man is currently serving 12 years for his part in the assault, but police believe that as many as 15 other people were involved. The PSNI continue to appeal for information.

“If anyone knows anything about this incident, the telephone number to ring is 0845 600 8000. Alternatively, information can be passed on anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on freephone 0800 555 111,” a PSNI spokesperson said.

Over the course of the investigation, a total of 25 arrests have been made. In the last 12 months 13 men and one woman have been arrested as part of the probe.

Meanwhile, Mr McCauley 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. 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.