Catholic man 'left for dead' in Kilkeel after brutal sectarian attack, says family
The victim suffered bruising to his brain, shattered eye sockets and cheekbones and possible broken jaw
The family of a Catholic man left with severe head injuries after being assaulted in Northern Ireland say he was the victim of a brutal sectarian attack.
Paschal Morgan (48) was assaulted on the Greencastle Road in Kilkeel while walking home after having drinks with friends in the Kilmorey Arms Hotel at around 11.25pm on Sunday.
The father-of-two's wife Rachel (43) told the Irish News her husband was "left for dead" and suffered bruising to the front of his brain, shattered eye sockets and cheekbones and a possible broken jaw. He now needs extensive surgery.
His family, including his daughter Shannon (24) and son Christopher (21), claim there father was targeted because he is from a well-known Catholic family in Kilkeel.
Mrs Morgan said her husband, who works as a building contractor, went for a drink at the hotel at around 7.30pm when a man followed him into the toilets and asked him his name.
He told him his name and confirmed he was related to the "Morgan's with the newspaper shop" in the town.
Mrs Morgan said that when her husband returned to the bar, another man sitting at the same table as the man in the toilet began screaming sectarian abuse at him.
Mr Morgan later left the pub at around 11.10pm and rang Shannon to pick him up, who said she would collect him in 10 minutes.
Mr Morgan began to walk home up the Greencastle Road. As Shannon drove to collect him, she noticed a white BMW parked on the wrong side of the road with the driver's door open.
"Then they saw this man running," said Mrs Morgan.
"He got into the car and drove off. That's when they saw Paschal lying on the road. It's a miracle she arrived."
An unconscious Mr Morgan was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and only began to respond to medical staff on Monday afternoon.
He is due to be transferred to the Ulster Hospital on Tuesday ahead of surgery later this week.
SDLP South Down MLA Sinead Bradly said images showing Mr Morgan's injuries were "horrifying".
"I would appeal to anyone with information to come forward as a matter of urgency," she said.
“My thoughts are with Paschal, his wife and children at this very difficult time. I wish him a full and speedy recovery and hope we can deliver justice for him and his family.”
Sinn Fein councillor Sean Doran, who is related to Mr Morgan by marriage, told the Irish News he was "lucky to be alive".
"I am totally disgusted by what has happened," he said.
"I thought Kilkeel had moved on from these sorts of incidents. He is a hard-working fella and I just hope he recovers."
A 34-year-old man arrested over the assault has been released on bail pending further enquiries.
Anyone with information should contact detectives at Ardmore on 101 quoting reference 2103 14/07/19.
Mrs Morgan said: "He's unrecognisable. It's been horrendous. We're friends with a lot of Protestants and they can't believe anyone would do this."
Sinn Fein MP Chris Hazzard called on the PSNI to ensure those responsible for the attack are brought to justice as swiftly as possible.
“This was a savage attack and those responsible need to be taken off the streets," the South Down MP said.
"I have been in contact with the PSNI and urged them to ensure that is the case.
“I would also urge political leaders to do more to face down the scourge of sectarianism in our society. It is when leaders fail to confront and condemn sectarianism, that attacks like this occur.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital