Paul McCauley's dad in plea for capture of loyalist gang who murdered his son because he was Catholic
The father of murder victim Paul McCauley has said that his son will not rest in peace until those who attacked him and left him for dead are brought to justice.
After lying in a vegetative state since July 2006, Paul died on Saturday from the dreadful injuries inflicted on him by a gang of 15.
The cowards beat him and stamped on his broken skull before running away.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Paul's father said 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.