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Outrage after masked gang enter house and nail victim's hands to a kitchen worktop

By Chris McCullough

Published 08/08/2015

Florence Walk in north Belfast where the attack took place
Florence Walk in north Belfast where the attack took place

An attack on a 23-year-old man in north Belfast when nails were driven through his hands has been condemned by local councillors.

Detectives are appealing for witnesses to the incident in the Florence Walk area on Thursday night.

Police received reports at about 8.15pm that a number of masked men had entered a house in the area and attacked the 23-year-old male occupant.

He was forced into the kitchen where the men are reported to have hammered a nail into each of his hands.

Details have emerged that the young man was actually nailed to the kitchen worktop.

He was taken to hospital for treatment to his injuries. A woman who was also in the house at the time was not injured.

Police said last night that paramilitary activity was a major line of inquiry. Local DUP councillor Brian Kingston condemned the attack and said there was no justification for it.

Mr Kingston said: "There are a few allegations surrounding this attack which have yet to be proven.

"Thankfully these type of attacks are very rare these days.

"However, this is an appalling, brutal and savage attack which cannot be justified.

"These attacks have a detrimental effect on the local community and undermine law and order.

"People just cannot take the law into their own hands and dish out such attacks.

"I appeal for anyone with any information to contact the police."

Detective Sergeant Keith Wilson is appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with any information that could assist the police investigation to contact detectives at Musgrave Police Station on the non-emergency number 101. Information can also be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

There have been other similar vigilante attacks in the past where victims have been nailed to posts.

Back in 2002 a man was nailed to a post and had his legs broken on the outskirts of south Belfast.

Harry McCartan (23) was set upon by a gang of men near Dunmurry and his hands were pinned to a fence in the attack.

The victim was found nailed to wooden posts in a lane behind the Seymour Hill estate.

Two rusty six-inch nails were driven though his hands and he had been beaten about the legs and face.

He had a long criminal record as a car thief and was apparently recognised by people on the estate.

After being beaten he had no memory of the attack but claimed it was sectarian rather than related to his criminal activities.

'The reason they did this was because I was a Catholic in the wrong place at the wrong time,' he said.

A police spokesman at the time described the attack as "barbaric and particularly vicious".

Another brutal method of crippling people in so-called punishment attacks in the early days of the Troubles was to use a drill on victims' kneecaps.

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