‘We want all those who did this behind bars’

Paul McCauley remains in a vegetative state.
Paul McCauley remains in a vegetative state.

The family of a Derry man left severely brain damaged following a vicious sectarian assault say they’re frustrated with the lack of progress in the police investigation into the hate crime.

Tomorrow marks the eighth anniversary of the attack launched by a loyalist gang on Paul McCauley and his friends at a barbecue at a house on Chapel Road.

Since then, Paul has remained in a vegetative state, unable to communicate, confined to bed for most of his time.

To date, only one person out of what was reported to have been a 15 member gang has been convicted for his part in the attack. Daryl Proctor is currently serving his sentence but is due for release in 2015. On sentencing Proctor, a judge had expressed fears around the likelihood of reoffending and stated that Proctor should not be released without a period of probation.

“Eight years later, we can’t understand why these people cannot be pursued,” Jim McCauley told the Journal yesterday.

“We feel like we’ve been on one roundabout after another and all we’ve heard is of apparent developments which have led nowhere. For us, this is just something else to deal with and it’s something we’ll have to deal with until all of the people are behind bars.”

Paul, now aged 37, was 29 when he was attacked. He had his head stamped on by those who carried out the attack while he was protecting a friend. Paul’s heart stopped beating at the scene and he had to be resuscitated on three occasions between there and the hospital. Following extreme surgery, he has approximately six square inches of his right skull missing.

“To be told there’s still no progress in bringing the people who did this to justice eight years on is hurtful. It’s extremely difficult for the entire family,” says Jim.

“We feel we’ve been very tolerant but, in truth, one wonders about the commitment to put these people behind bars.”

Jim McCauley says many people within loyalist communities know who is responsible for the attack on his son, but are terrified of coming forward.

“I have no doubt that these communities are under great pressure from the UDA.

“We had cards after Paul’s attack simply signed by ‘a Protestant family.’

“People were too scared to even put their names to the card. That wall in the Fountain which says loyalists are living under siege is the biggest lie in Derry. The community itself is living in fear of groups like the UDA. Good living people are being kept under the thumb.

“The name of the core attackers are known to both the family and the police who have publicly stated that fact. Yet, eight years on no one has been charged with the attempted murder of Paul. We are asking once again for anyone who knows anything to bring that information forward. It won’t help Paul, but it would help our family enormously.”

A PSNI statement released last night confirmed that the investigation was ongoing.

A spokesperson said: “The police investigation into the serious assault on Paul McCauley remains open and detectives continue to explore every available investigative opportunity in order to bring those responsible to justice.

“Throughout the course of the investigation over the past eight years, detectives have arrested and questioned 25 other individuals.

“The investigation team, headed up by DCI Harrison, remain keen to hear from anyone who believes they may be able to assist with the enquiry.”