Page last updated at 10:40 GMT, Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Attack victim's 'life sentence'

By Enda McClafferty
BBC News

Paul McCauley
Paul McCauley before he was attacked two and a half years ago

The family of a Londonderry man left in a vegetative state after a sectarian assault have said they won't rest until all those responsible are caught.

Paul McCauley, 32, suffered permanent brain damage after the attack in the Waterside in 2006.

Daryl Proctor, now 18, is serving a 12 year sentence in a young offenders centre for his role in the attack.

Mr McCauley's father Jim called on Proctor to give police the names of the others involved.

"It is totally wrong that these people should walk free," he said.

"I think we as a family owe it to Paul, and I think those who know the names owe it to society, because this damage has been done to us but the threat remains to others," he said.

On Tuesday night on BBC Spotlight, the McCauley family talk about the night their son's life was destroyed.

They describe how it's affected his 10-year-old daughter and the rest of their family.

"We feel Paul's in there somewhere, Paul's in there and we feel as if we would love to get him out but you just feel he's in a tunnel that he can't escape from," his mother Cathy said.

Daryl Proctor, who was 15 at the time, was the only person to be convicted in relation to the attack.

Farewell party

On 16 July 2006, Paul was at a barbecue in Chapel Road in Derry. It was a farewell party for a friend who was heading off to teach abroad.

Paul was standing around a bonfire with two other friends, Mark Lynch and Gavin Mullin when they were attacked by a gang.

They were knocked to the ground and repeatedly kicked and stamped on.

Paul McCauley after he was attacked in summer 2006
Paul has been in a permanent vegetative state since the attack

Mark who suffers from the muscle wasting disease - muscular dystrophy - was kicked about the head.

"I had a broken jaw in three places, in the chin and side and a large footprint on my back and a large footprint on the side of my face, and some bruising on the back of my arms," he said.

But it was Paul who suffered most. Part of his skull was crushed when his head was stamped on.

As a result he suffered permanent brain damage and is expected to remain in a vegetative state for the rest of his life.

Doctors say his life expectancy is between 10 and 15 years.

Paul's family are now fighting to get all his attackers in court.

They want Proctor to give police the names of those who were with him that night.

They also suspect others in the wider loyalist community know who was involved and they want them to come forward.

Paul McCauley's story features on BBC Northern Ireland's Spotlight on BBC 1 at 2235 GMT on Tuesday, 4 March.

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