The father of murdered Derry man, Paul McCauley, said he believed the devastating attack on his son, and the aftermath, contributed to triggering the cancer which claimed his devoted wife in August, 2016.
Jim McCauley was speaking as he paid tribute to the strength his beloved late wife, Cathy, had provided for her family in the years following the 2006 horrific attack on her son.
Mr. McCauley said the attack and its aftermath had taken it’s toll on his family. “Many people, my family and others, believe that the stress had a major affect on Cathy’s health. We believe there is an element of responsibility and blame there from the whole affair. Cathy died in 2016, just one year after Paul had passed away.
“She had been diagnosed with breast cancer at the City Hospital. The cancer had cleared on different occasions, but came back. The last time at 8.00 a.m. the consultant rang to say, ‘Look we discovered other spots.’ Cathy had an MRI scan.
“A couple of weeks later we went out for dinner to the City Hotel. It was a Tuesday night. I was also with Cathy the following Thursday when she and her consultant threw their arms around each other when he said: ‘We won’t be seeing each other again.’
“The following Tuesday Cathy passed away. In a week from going out for dinner to passing away. We knew Cathy was ill then, we just didn’t expect to lose her so quickly.
“But there’s a lot to be thankful for, as opposed to a long, lingering suffering.”
Paying tribute to his devoted wife, he added: “Cathy’s background was in nursing and it was so important to have her strength help carry us over the years.”
Commenting on Paul, Mr. McCauley said: “He had worked in the Civil Service in Waterside House and at Stormont. At the time of the attack, he was working in James House in Belfast.
“Paul had travelled for several months and he had, just a couple of months beforehand, moved into a flat close to his work.
He came home for the weekend, specifically for the going away party for one of his friends who was leaving to teach English in Azerbaijan.
“Paul was our eldest child. He was very precious to us because our first youngster was stillborn. We were so unsure after losing the first child that we hadn’t even a name planned. He was born on January 25th which is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul - that’s why we named him Paul.
“He absolutely lived for his daughter. He had come down every weekend, but also nipped down in midweek as well just to see her. He was also committed to the family and he loved the outdoor life.
“The friends who were attacked with him that night would have gone off on camping holidays together. They had been very close friends since their schooldays.
“His main interest was reading, he was seriously into science fiction and astronomy.
“Paul was also an early volunteer with Foyle Search & Rescue and when after he died a donation was made to the charity to install the defibrillator at the Waterside end of Craigavon Bridge in his memory.”
On the investigation into Paul’s murder, Mr McCauley said: “It wasn’t until the investigation was upgraded to the Serious Crime Unit under DCI Michael Harvey, that real movement started to take place. From the start it was a slow process. However the various news bulletins indicated that progress was being made and we were hopeful there would be a successful outcome.
“While this episode is now concluded, it is reassuring to hear police confirm that the file remains open and that the PSNI continue to appeal for information. It would be comforting for us if police were supported in following the matter to its entirely.”