Belfast Telegraph

Craving justice, brave Thomas one year after petrol bomb horror left him with 40% burns and fighting for his life

By Donna Deeney

One year on from a horrific petrol bomb attack that left an innocent man with 40% burns and fighting for his life the police investigation has stalled.

Thomas Curry (45) and his family now fear no one will ever be brought to justice.

The Londonderry man was engulfed in flames in May 2013 as he slept on the sofa in his living room – the victim of mistaken identity.

He was left in a critical condition. While he survived, Thomas he has been left with dreadful scars on his face, upper body and arms.

He also still attends regular check-ups at the Royal Victoria Hospital, and faces a further four operations.

Thomas spent much of the past 12 months in hospital, and just two weeks ago was moved from Altnagelvin Hospital's rehabilitation unit to sheltered accommodation as part of his transition back to independent living.

In the days following the attack police arrested and questioned four people – three men aged 22, 25 and 26 and a woman aged 45. All were later released without charge.

As Thomas marks the first anniversary of the day that changed his life forever, there has been no further movement on the PSNI investigation.

While some members of Thomas' family have seriously considered the possibility that justice will never be served, Thomas himself tries to remain hopeful.

"It is frustrating that the police haven't been able to find out who did this to me, and the lack of information at times really gets to me," he explained.

"I haven't heard a word from the police in over six months and at times I think they have shut the book, but I try not to let myself dwell on that."

Thomas is one of 13 siblings and has huge support from his brothers and sisters, who carry their own frustration and anger that the brother they describe as one of the most gentle people on the planet was so badly hurt.

Sister Philomena said: "What angers us so much is that Thomas is so gentle, soft-natured and kind, which is the complete opposite of the ones who did this.

"We know there will be people who know who did this to our brother and they need to do the right thing too.

"They need to stop protecting the people who did this and tell the police. I don't know how they can live with themselves."

No one from the PSNI was available for interview but a spokesman said: "The police investigation is active and ongoing.

"To date four people have been arrested. They are currently on police bail pending further inquiries.

"Detectives continue to appeal for anyone with any information to contact Strand Road police station or Crimestoppers."

BACKGROUND

Thomas was engulfed in flames after the device was thrown into his living room while he was asleep on the settee in what police believe was a case of mistaken identity. Doctors feared he would not survive, and Thomas (44) suffered such horrendous burns that he had to be kept in an induced coma for six weeks. Thomas's voice box was so badly damaged that he had to learn how to talk again.

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