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Paul McCauley murder: Man arrested in Derry

Published 16/12/2015

Paul McCauley remained in a vegetative state after the vicious sectarian attack in 2006. He passed away in June 2015
Paul McCauley remained in a vegetative state after the vicious sectarian attack in 2006. He passed away in June 2015

Police investigating the murder of Paul McCauley in Londonderry in 2006 have arrested a 25-year-old man in the city.

He has been taken to Strand Road police station for questioning.

Paul McCauley in hospital
Paul McCauley in hospital

The officer leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Michael Harvey said Wednesday’s arrest brought the number of people who have been arrested since Paul died to 12.

To date, one man has been charged with murder and another reported to the Public Prosecution Service.

Piper John McClements (24), formerly known as Daryl Proctor, of Derry’s Fountain was charged with Mr McCauley’s murder in July.

DCI Harvey said police enquiries into Paul’s murder were active and ongoing and he appealed to those with information to come forward.

The PSNI launched a murder investigation after Mr McCauley, who was left in a vegetative state after an unprovoked loyalist gang attack in 2006, died in June this year.

Mr McCauley passed away in a care unit in Derry surrounded by family and friends.

The civil servant was 30 when he was attacked by a loyalist mob at a barbecue in the Waterside in Derry. A gang of up to 15 people were thought to have been involved in the attack.

He never regained consciousness.

Further reading

Paul McCauley murder: UDA was behind my son's death, says father  

Police: We know the thugs who carried out vicious sectarian assault

Social Security Agency asked twice if my immobile son could work

Background

Paul McCauley was celebrating with friends at a barbecue near his home in the Chapel Road area of the Waterside when they were attacked by the sectarian gang. The attack on Mr McCauley happened at around 3.40am on July 16, 2006, when a group of men burst into the back garden of the house.

Daryl Proctor was convicted of the brutal attack on Paul McCauley
Daryl Proctor was convicted of the brutal attack on Paul McCauley

They were set upon by the gang of around 15 people as they sat chatting around a small fire after the barbecue. Mr McCauley's beating was so severe he 'died' twice from his injuries and had to be resuscitated.

His friend who suffers from a disability, sustained serious injuries including a broken jaw, while the third escaped with minor injuries.

His attackers are believed to have made their way to or from the Bann Drive/Irish Street direction.

Piper John McClements (Daryl Proctor) was jailed for 12 years in 2009 after pleading guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm with intent.

McClements was released in February this year.

From the archives: ‘I still cry sometimes... little things set you off'

BY BRENDAN MCDAID – 10 July 2010

Paul McCauley’s father Jim dropped his son off at his friend’s home on a summer’s evening in July 2006, little knowing that within hours his family would be forever changed by the scourge of sectarian hatred.

Paul was attending a farewell party of his friend on Chapel Road, when he and two friends, Gavin Mullin and Mark Lynch, were set upon by around 10 men as they stood around a bonfire in the early hours of July 16.

Father-of-one Paul, then 30, was kicked to the ground and his head was repeatedly stamped on. One of his friends, who is disabled, suffered a broken jaw while the other was treated in hospital for cuts and bruises.

The gang approached from a nearby loyalist estate and the totally unprovoked attack was later linked to the UDA by the Independent Monitoring Commission.

Now, four years on, Jim and his wife Cathy spend around five hours a day at the beside of their eldest child on a rota basis at a specialist brain injury unit attached to Altnagelvin Hospital.

“I still cry sometimes,” Mr McCauley said. “Little things can set you off. Increasingly you begin to accept the situation but you never give up hope. Paul’s condition remains unchanged. He is technically, medically what they call in a minimally responsive state.

“He is immobile with no communication.

“The lack of communications is a big frustration. We don’t know where he is chronologically. We don’t know if he knows we are his parents. It is been traumatic for everybody, Paul’s friends who were attacked and the wider family circle.”

In his hospital room surrounded by family photographs, his family keep Paul company in the hope that one day their prayers will be answered and they will get some sign from their son.

It has been a horrific ordeal for the couple and their other three children. Before Paul was transferred to Altnagelvin two years ago, for seven months his family had to travel to Belfast every day as he was being cared for in the brain injury unit at Musgrave.

A former student of St Columb’s College in Derry, Paul worked as a civil servant and was studying for an Open University degree in computers.

Speaking about the time since the attack, Jim says: “It has been a long four years and in other respects it is hard to believe it has been four years since that night I left Paul at the barbecue. He walked up the lane to his friend’s house and it seems just like yesterday. We just said cheerio. That’s the last memory of the old Paul.”

Mr McCauley said his family were now holding on to the hope that those who wreaked havoc on his son’s life are put behind bars.

“It won’t help Paul but it will help carry us if those who carried it out are brought to justice,” he said.

He also said he and his family had watched with “great concern and disappointment” a series of recent cases where people who stamped on their victims’ heads during attacks were awarded short jail terms or even suspended sentences.

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