Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Will petrol bomb victim Thomas Curry ever get justice?

Thomas Curry is still in hospital following petrol bomb attack
Thomas Curry is still in hospital following petrol bomb attack

The family of a man left unrecognisable after he was engulfed in flames when a petrol bomb was thrown into his house fear that no-one will ever be brought to justice.

Thomas Curry (44) is still fighting a daily battle of survival while those responsible for inflicting his horrific injuries roam free.

Police believe the attack on Mr Curry 10 weeks ago was a case of mistaken identity.

Mr Curry, who lived alone in Benvarden Avenue in the Waterside area of Londonderry, was asleep on the sofa in his living room when someone threw a petrol bomb into his home.

The attack left him with 40% burns to his body and fighting for his life in the intensive care unit of the Royal Victoria Hospital.

In the days that followed, three men aged 21, 24 and 25 and a woman aged 44 were arrested, but later released without charge.

Mr Curry's brother Paddy said the family are concerned at the apparent lack of movement on the investigation.

"Thomas is still in a very bad way in the RVH. He was only moved out of intensive care two weeks ago," he said.

"I don't think he knows the extent of his injuries. We certainly haven't told him but he has had several operations already. He had one on his right eye and they hope to do another one on his left eye. There has been skin grafts done but he has a long way to go yet.

"Thomas has no one except us – his brothers and sisters – and we take it in turn to go to see him. Some days when you go he is in OK form but on others he is not so good and gets a bit agitated, which is not a bit like him.

"He is the most gentle soul. He is one of those people you sometimes meet in life that no one has a bad word to say about. Everyone who ever encountered him says the same and if ever there was a person who did not deserve to be suffering in the way he is, it is Thomas.

"That is what worries us as a family, that no one will ever be held accountable, that who ever did this will get away with it."

Thomas was rescued from the flames by his neighbour Ivan Ballard. He said: "I can't get the images of him lying in a ring of fire out of my head but I didn't think about leaving him. I had to get him out of the house.

"The bottom of his feet, his trousers were on fire and his jacket and up around his head."

Paddy remains indebted to the neighbours who came to his brother's assistance but appealed to others in the Waterside area who may have information.

He added: "We are convinced that there are people that know who is behind this attack on Thomas but who still haven't come forward with information.

"They may be afraid but that is no excuse. If they saw the way Thomas has been left, what he has come through and what he still has to face they could not stay silent.

"There are ways and means of getting information to the police now without anyone finding out."

A spokesman for the PSNI said: "The police investigation into the petrol bomb attack on a house in the Benvarden Avenue area of Derry in which a 44-year-old man suffered serious injuries is active and ongoing.

"Four people have been arrested and are currently on police bail pending inquiries."

STORY SO FAR

Despite a number of arrests at the time, no one has been charged with the arson attack that almost killed Thomas Curry. It left him in a critical condition and fighting for his life 10 weeks ago, and his family fear that no-one will ever be brought to justice.

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