Loyalist assault victim Paul McCauley dies after ten years in vegetative state
An Irish man who was left in a vegetative state after an unprovoked loyalist gang attack in 2006 has died.
Derry native Paul McCauley passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning with his family and friends by his side.
The civil servant was 30 when he was attacked by a loyalist mob at a barbecue in the Waterside in Derry.
A gang of up to 15 people were thought to have been involved in the attack.
He never regained consciousness.
SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan said: "I would like to express my sympathy for and solidarity with the McCauley family at this time. They have endured a torrid nine years watching their son suffer in a manner few of us can imagine. Their pain has been compounded by the failure to see justice done.
"All but one of the perpetrators of this sickening sectarian crime have evaded the law. Today may not be the time to dwell on the shortcomings of the police investigation into this incident but we must get behind the McCauley family in their campaign to see justice for Paul.
"I was at school with Paul and know what a gentle being he was That his life has been destroyed and that those responsible are still walking the streets is very difficult to take."
The only person convicted in connection with the brutal attack is Daryl Proctor.
He was jailed for 12 years in 2009 after pleading guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm with intent.
He was released in February this year.
Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson said: "I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family, his parents Jim and Cathy, his daughter Maeve, and all his family and friends.
"The fact is that up to 15 people were involved in the attempt to murder Paul and his friends, and their identities are well known in their community.
"There is an onus on everyone, particularly elected representatives, to encourage those with information about the attack to come forward so that those responsible can be brought to justice."
Last year Mr McCauley's father Jim said he did not think Mr Proctor should have been released early from prison because he has consistently refused to divulge the names of his cohorts.
His father said that he was convinced that a request by Mr Proctor to meet him was a cynical move to impress an appeals board.
He said: "[He] 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 Mr 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 [he] 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."
His father also said that he knew his son would die before the rest of the thugs that attacked him were brought to justice.
"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.
"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."
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Harrison, who lead the investigation, said he was convinced there are people from Irish Street, Clooney, Lincoln Courts and the Fountain areas who had the information he needed to bring the thugs to justice.
Last year PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton apologised to the McCauley family for not getting more convictions.