Belfast Telegraph

Hundreds of punishment-style shootings - but not one conviction

By Donna Deeney

Not a single conviction has been made for a punishment-style shooting anywhere in Northern Ireland despite hundreds of attacks and just five people have been brought to book for paramilitary assaults over the past three years.

The figures emerged after a Good Samaritan who administered first aid to two men brutally beaten by a paramilitary gang said he feared they were dead.

The gang of up to eight men forced their way into a flat in the Ederowen Park area of Galliagh in Londonderry on Sunday night and beat the two victims aged 34 and 31 with iron bars and baseball bats.

They sustained numerous injuries to their heads, bodies, arms and legs before the masked gang made their getaway.

Calls for help by the brother of one of the men brought a number of neighbours out from their homes.

While police understand the gang in Derry had at least one gun, the firearm wasn't used.

One man, who did not want to be named, said the sight of the two men's injuries left him deeply traumatised and worried they were going to die.

He said: "I walked in and saw them lying on the floor. You just don't know the words to say but I was scared.

"I thought they were dead, they were going in and out of consciousness and there was a lot of blood.

"One boy, lying in the corner, was in a bad way. The other boy, lying near the door, was passing out so we kept trying to keep them awake but I was scared.

"I learned first aid and told one of the other neighbours to put pressure on the wound.

"This has been a shock to everyone on the street.

"We are all shocked. It is something you wouldn't forget."

The brutal assault was one of two such attacks in Northern Ireland on Sunday.

Shortly after 8pm four masked men armed with baseball bats entered a house in the Carnany Drive area of Ballymoney in Co Antrim and attacked a 45-year-old man.

The victim was taken to hospital for treatment to injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.

There was a four-fold increase in dissident republican attacks in the north west during 2014.

Anyone with information about either attack is asked to contact police on the non-emergency number 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Background

Last year so-called punishment attacks by paramilitaries increased four-fold in Londonderry. Among them were a man in his 20s from Galliagh who was shot three times in the leg and a man aged 29 from Creggan who was shot four times in the leg in November. Other victims included a 17-year-old man from Ballymacgroarty shot twice in the leg in September; in April, a man in his 40s shot in his legs and arm, and a man in his 20s shot in his knees, and a man in his 20s from Kerrigan Close shot in the legs in March.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph