Paul McCauley murder: UDA was behind my son's death, says father
The father of murder victim Paul McCauley has said that he believes the UDA was involved in his son's murder - a view supported by the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC).
After lying in a vegetative state since July 2006, Paul died on Saturday from the injuries inflicted on him by a gang of 15.
The cowards beat him and stamped on his broken skull before running away.
Paul's father, Jim, told BBC Radio Foyle: "We believe the UDA were behind it and they have caused us so much grief. To have to wait in a dying process, where you know there is no recovery, is an appalling way to leave anyone."
"The hate that was perpetrated on Paul by a gang is a massive stain, not only on who did it, but on part of the loyalist community who know what happened. "
The IMC - established to monitor terrorist activity - concluded that UDA elements were involved in the attack.
Mr McCauley told the Belfast Telegraph that his son is now free from the prison that was his body - but he wants the loyalist community protecting the killers to allow him to rest in peace.
"We had always anticipated the day that Paul would die and we knew it was closing in on us, but in the end it came quicker than we expected," said Jim.
"Knowing the end is near does not make it any easier, but having said that, there was a great tranquillity in the room and Paul has been freed from the prison that was his body.
"That doesn't take away our pain or sense of loss, no matter how aware you are that something is going to happen; when death comes it brings terrible grief of having to lose someone you loved so dearly.
"Because the police have turned the investigation into a murder inquiry, there will be a post-mortem on Paul's body, which has added to our stress, something Cathy, Paul's mother is finding particularly difficult.
"We have never been separated for as much as a day from Paul since the attack.
"Every single day we spent with him, but now he will be with the coroner in Belfast until later this week and that is hard for us to accept.
"Police have to go through nine years of medical records to filter out what will be relevant to their investigation, so we are not sure yet when our son will be given back to us."
The serious crime team investigating the attack on Mr McCauley in 2006 have previously stated that they know the names of his killers.
They have appealed in the past to people living in the Fountain area of Derry and the Clooney, Lincoln Court and Irish Street areas of the Waterside to help them give the McCauley family justice.
"The attack on Paul was one of the most horrific crimes ever carried out in Derry in terms of the length of time it took the victim to die," said Mr McCauley.
"For nine years, Paul lay in a vegetative state brought about by the terrible injuries inflicted on him.
"This was the cruellest of cruel attacks, but we have grown increasingly disappointed with the communities who have refused to help the police.
"There are more people who know who carried out the attack than actually did it.
"It is time now for them to turn their backs on my son's killers. I am asking that community to distance themselves from the gang who murdered my son, give the evidence the police need to them and let Paul rest in peace."
One man was jailed for 12 years for his part in the assault at Chapel Road. However, Daryl Proctor was released earlier this year.
Last year, the Chief Constable apologised for not having brought more people before the courts.
Senior Investigating Officer, DCI Michael Harvey, paid tribute to the McCauley family.
"The love and care they gave to Paul have been a beacon of light in a tragically dark set of circumstances", he said.
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.
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.
To date there has only been a single conviction in relation to the attack on McCauley, that of Daryl Proctor, (20) from the Fountain area of Derry who, in 2009 was given a 12-year term for grievous bodily harm.
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.