Derry man stabbed in face in 'sectarian' attack
Fears of a fresh wave of sectarian violence were raised last night after a man was stabbed in the face in front of his horrified girlfriend in Londonderry.
In a macabre twist, the attack on the 26-year-old happened close to where Derry man Paul McCauley was savagely beaten by sectarian thugs as he attended a barbecue five years ago this week.
In the latest incident the victim and his 19-year-old girlfriend were walking along the nationalist Chapel Road area of the Waterside at around 2am on Monday when the unprovoked assault took place.
It is understood a car pulled up and two men - both armed with knives - jumped out shouting "fenian b**tards" at the couple.
A PSNI spokeswoman said: "The male was stabbed in the face and ribs; the female was uninjured. His injuries required hospital treatment; they are not believed to be life-threatening.
"The two males are described as being in their mid-20s and one had blond hair."
The victim was treated at Altnagelvin Hospital for his wounds but later released.
Paul McCauley is still in an almost vegetative state five years after he was beaten by a 10-strong gang in the Chapel Road area on July 16, 2006. Two of his friends were also left with severe injuries.
Sinn Fein councillor Lynn Fleming expressed fears that the "apparently random attack" could heighten sectarian tension in the Waterside area.
Ms Fleming said: "I am sure the attack on Paul McCauley must have gone through this couple's minds."
Police are appealing to anyone who has information to contact them on 0845 600 8000 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Police have upgraded the investigation into the attack in July 2006 that left Paul McCauley with severe head injuries. Three men arrested in relation to the attempted murder of the civil servant have been released on bail. The men, all aged in their 20s, were arrested in various parts of the city on Monday morning. Only one man has been jailed over the loyalist gang attack.