Belfast Telegraph

My son will die before the thugs who did this to him face justice

Dad's agony 8 years after assault

By Donna Deeney

A man whose son was left in a vegetative state after a loyalist gang attack said he faces the real possibility that his son will die before the thugs who battered him ever face justice.

The only person convicted in connection with the brutal attack on Paul McCauley near his home in Londonderry on this day in 2006 is Daryl Proctor.

He was jailed for 12 years in 2009 after pleading guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm with intent.

According to remission guidelines, any Troubles-related incident which took place before 2007 automatically qualifies for a 50% reduction in sentence, which means Proctor could be released next February.

Meanwhile, Jim McCauley and his wife Cathy maintain a daily vigil at their son's bedside.

He has remained in a vegetative state since the gang of loyalist thugs left him for dead.

Mr McCauley does not think Proctor should be released early from prison because he has consistently refused to divulge the names of his cohorts.

Mr McCauley said that he was convinced that a request by Proctor to meet him was a cynical move to impress an appeals board.

He said: "Proctor has never shown any remorse for what he did to Paul nor has he helped the police with the investigation, which is why I think he does not deserve early release.

"Three months before his appeal hearing in October 2009 the police told me Proctor had requested a meeting with me but not my wife Cathy, which I thought strange at the time.

"Even though the thought of meeting him filled me with revulsion, I agreed because I would do anything to further the investigation.

"That meeting never actually went ahead because Proctor pulled the plug on it, which has convinced me the entire thing was a ploy to impress the appeal judges and make him look good."

That appeal in 2009 was refused but now Mr McCauley faces the harsh reality that Proctor could be back on the streets of Derry while his son remains locked in his body unable to communicate with the outside world.

Mr McCauley said: "My son has never spoken a word since the night he was attacked. A large section of his skull was so badly damaged it couldn't be saved and there is nothing between that part of Paul's brain and the outside world except a flap of skin.

"Paul's injuries were so horrific and caused so much damage the doctors told us at the time his life expectancy has been reduced to between 10 and 15 years.

"That was eight years ago, so the fact is we face the very real possibility that our son could die anytime and a dozen or so people who did that to him will never be put in the dock.

"But what makes it so much more difficult is that the police have said publicly that they know the names of those who carried out the attack on my son, but they need the help of their community to bring them to justice."

Belfast Telegraph


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