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15 September 2005 Edition

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Unionist gang attempted to butcher Ballymena man

A unionist gang discussed sawing up a Catholic man during a savage sectarian attack in Ballymena in March 2003.

Thirty-one-year-old Michael Reid was speaking as 30-year-old Neil White appeared in court awaiting sentencing for the sectarian attack.

Reid said he had been visiting a Protestant friend's home in the Harryville area of the town when brothers Neil and Aaron White and another man arrived.

The Ballymena man said Neil White tried to strangle him with a telephone cable when they found out he was a Catholic while the other two beat him about the head with a frying pan. Reid fell to the floor and pretended to be dead while his attackers continued to stab and kick him. It was at this point the trio discussed using a saw to cut up his body.

Reid said that while Aaron White and the other man left the house to find a saw he tried to escape but was caught by Neil White who stabbed him again. After a scuffle Reid managed to escape and was found by a PSNI patrol on the road.

Neil White was found in the house but his brother Aaron and the third attacker have never been caught

Speaking for the first time about the sectarian attack Reid said the gang were shouting "Die you Fenian bastard die" as they stabbed him.

"There was blood everywhere. I remember lying on the floor and listening to them discussing how they were going to cut my body to get rid of it. I was only able to escape because two of them left the house to get a saw."

Reid who has left Ballymena and has been in hiding ever since said it is a disgrace that two of his attackers have never been caught.

Neil White, who pleaded guilty to attempted murder in June, is expected to be sentenced at a later date.

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