The PSNI Chief Constable has apologised to the father of a man left in a permanent vegetative state after a brutal attack eight years ago by a marauding sectarian gang in Londonderry.
Paul McCauley was celebrating with friends at a barbecue near his home in the Chapel Road area of the Waterside in July 2006 when they were savagely attacked and he has never regained complete consciousness.
At a meeting of the Policing Board held in the city last night, Mr McCauley's father Jim challenged Chief Constable George Hamilton about the level of investigation and the calibre of those assigned to investigating serious crimes like the attempted murder of his son.
Mr McCauley explained how Paul was viciously attacked and left for dead by the gang who beat him and stood on his head to such an extent that there remains a six-inch hole in his skull with only a flap of skin protecting his brain.
Five years after the attack the police conducted an internal review of the lack of progress in the investigation but only after Mr McCauley raised the matter.
He said: "In 2010 I met with the then District Commander here in Derry about our very, very serious concerns about the investigation of the attack on Paul and was persuaded then that the best way forward would be for the police to hold an internal inquiry.
"Three months later a 75-page confidential report produced 42 recommendations and despite the police going on public record and saying they know the names of the people who attempted to murder my son, this killer gang is still at large.
"No one has been brought to book for his attempted murder or the attempted murder of a man who was with him who was left with very serious injuries."
The chief constable was clearly affected by what Mr McCauley had told him about his son and his frustration that the investigation had yielded no charge of attempted murder against anyone.
Mr Hamilton assured Mr McCauley that in the intervening eight years police procedure had changed and that the five years the McCauley family had to wait for a review would not happen now.
He added: "I am sorry that more people have not been brought to justice for the suffering that your son and your family had to endure over the last eight years.
"Your story is devastating, I am sorry for the length of time that has passed.
"We haven't had the criminal outcome that we want," he said, adding that his only sympathy was for Paul and his family.
The attack on Paul McCauley, happened at around 3.40am on July 17, 2006 when a group of men burst into the back garden of the house where he and two friends were celebrating a friend's new job abroad. They were set upon by the gang of around 15 who attacked them as they sat chatting around a small fire after a barbecue. Mr McCauley's beating was so severe he 'died' twice from his injuries and had to be resuscitated.