Belfast Telegraph

Good Samaritan battling for his life after trying to break up fight in Derry

By Leona O'Neill

A father-of-three is in a critical condition after being assaulted in Londonderry city centre yesterday as he tried to stop a brawl.

Danny Payne, who is in his 30s and from the Clooney estate, was assaulted by a number of men in Newmarket Street in Derry shortly after 2am.

It is believed the former Foyle Search and Rescue volunteer stepped in to try and break up an altercation beside the City Walls when he was attacked.

He suffered serious head injuries and was rushed to Altnagelvin Hospital.

His wife Sarah was also injured in the attack.

Mr Payne was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital yesterday afternoon. The Belfast Trust said he remained in a critical condition last night.

The attack comes less than a month after 19-year-old Jordan McConomy died after being assaulted in the city centre and has prompted calls for CCTV cameras to be erected and police patrols to be increased.

DUP councillor Graham Warke said the issue of young people congregating on the City Walls in their hundreds at the weekend needed to be addressed.

"This is yet another awful attack in our city," he said. "Our thoughts are firmly with the injured man's family.

"There is a need for CCTV cameras in our city centre and more police on the ground.

"Every weekend we have hundreds of young people congregating around our walls and fighting amongst each other. Once again we have a serious assault - there was another at the same spot last week, and three weeks ago we had a young man lose his life in nearby William Street after an assault.

"We can't keep waking up on a Sunday morning to the news of assaults or deaths. Something needs to be done urgently to address this."

The PSNI has appealed for witnesses to the assault to come forward. "Shortly after 2am police received a report of an altercation between a number of males on Newmarket Street," it said.

"A male, aged in his 30s, sustained serious injuries to his head after he had been assaulted by a number of the males. He has been taken to hospital for treatment to his injuries.

"Detectives are appealing for anyone who was in the area of Newmarket Street during the early hours of this morning and who witnessed the incident, or anyone with any information that can assist with the investigation, to contact detectives in Strand Road on 101 quoting reference 209 22/10/2017.

"Or, alternatively, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111."

An area of Newmarket Street remained closed for most of the day yesterday while police conducted follow-up enquiries into the incident.

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