Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Cops treat attack on OAP as murder bid

Police are treating as attempted murder a vicious attack that left a pensioner fighting for his life.

Yesterday, Chief Superintendent Alan Todd confirmed that the 70-year-old victim who was attacked in Portadown on Thursday evening was critical but stable in the Royal Victoria Hospital, adding "and that's as serious as it can get".

A man aged around 20 has been arrested in connection with the assault in which the pensioner sustained serious injuries to his head and body.

The attack happened in the honeycomb of alleyways in the town's nationalist Churchill Park estate, off the Garvaghy Road, and Mr Todd immediately ruled out a sectarian motive.

"The motive isn't entirely clear, but it was a severe attack which we view as attempted murder" added the District Commander.

"We do know there were several people in the area at the time, and while some have come forward with information, we want others to follow suit so that we can build up our evidence - both from the aspect of justice and protecting the community."

The attack happened at around 5pm on Thursday near a row of shops in the estate where the victim had just done his shopping.

He was found lying in an alleyway near his home by a member of the public.

He was rushed to Craigavon Area Hospital about two miles away and later transferred to the ICU at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

A man was taken into custody soon after the attack and was still being questioned by police last night.

Mr Todd said: "If any prospective witnesses feel they can't report to the police, then contact church or political representatives, all of whom are totally behind our appeal."

Mr Todd would not be drawn on suggestions that there might be a vigilante motive behind the attack.

Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd said: "This is a tight-knit community and while it does have its difficulties in anti-social behaviour, this sort of attack has been unheard of.

"The whole community is shocked by the severity of the attack."

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