Paul McCauley's killers must be handed in
One of the most horrendous physical attacks in recent times was that on Paul McCauley who died on Saturday after being beaten by a gang in Londonderry almost nine years ago.
Paul was the innocent victim of the attack which involved at least 15 people. Mr McCauley, a former civil servant, was brutally beaten by the gang, after which some of them stamped on his broken skull before running away.
So far only one man has been convicted of the crime. Daryl Proctor, from the Fountain area of Londonderry, was sentenced to 12 years in 2009, but was released from prison earlier this year despite the objections of the McCauley family.
Police say that they know the names of other people who took part in the 2006 attack on Paul, but they need more information from the public so that they can bring these thugs to justice. The police are now treating the attack as a murder investigation, and anyone with relevant information could look to his or her conscience and help to bring these people to justice.
The PSNI has already appealed specifically to people in the Fountain area, and in the Clooney, Lincoln Courts and Irish Street areas, for help, so it clear they know who they are looking for.
In today's Belfast Telegraph, Paul's father Jim outlines in grim detail the immense burden which the family has had to bear, and says movingly: "Knowing the end is near does not make it easier... but Paul has been freed from the prison that was his body."
Jim has strong words for those people who are shielding his son's killers.
"We have grown increasingly disappointed with the communities who have refused to help the police," he says.
He added that it was time for people to turn their backs on his son's killers, and asked the people in the local community "to distance themselves from the gang who murdered my son, give the evidence to the police, and let Paul rest in peace".
Only people with hearts of stone could resist such an appeal.
Now, following Paul's death, the police should renew their efforts, and the people who know the truth should look into their hearts and come forward, so that the McCauley family can finally receive the justice they deserve.