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10 October 2002 Edition

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North Belfast man escapes death in loyalist attack

A Catholic man in his fifties who was attacked by loyalists on Monday night 7 October was on a life support machine in the Royal Victoria Hospital for 36 hours.

Paddy Murphy was attacked at 11pm by the loyalist gang as he walked with a friend along Millfield, near Unity Flats in North Belfast.

Speaking to An Phoblacht, Murphy's wife and daughter, both named Madeleine, said that when he was brought to the Royal Victoria Hospital, one of the loyalists, who sustained injuries when Murphy's friend acted in self defence, was placed in the next cubicle.

The family say they pointed the man out to the RUC/PSNI, who were present, but they shrugged it off saying there was nothing they could do. It turned out the loyalist gave a false name and signed himself out after being treated.

Three loyalists jumped from a Peugeot car at Scotch Court on Millfield. Two of the loyalists, who were wearing Celtic tops, set about Murphy and his friend.

They kicked Murphy to the ground and attempted to drag him into their car. While he was on the ground, he was beaten about the head and suffered serious injuries. His family say that only for the intervention of his friend, who attacked the loyalists and struck one of them, then Murphy might be dead now.

Describing the attack as "attempted murder", Sinn Féin councillor Gerard Brophy said "this was an attempt to kill a Catholic man. The loyalists were just looking for any Catholic. This car drove around this community with loyalists using Celtic tops as cover for their murderous intentions for an hour, this could have been anyone, the man is very lucky indeed."

A video camera on a nearby building was removed by the RUC/PSNI.




Short Strand suffers sustained loyalist attacks




Since last Sunday, 6 October, loyalist gangs have been attacking nationalist homes in the Clandeboye Drive area of the Short Strand.

The worst trouble erupted on Tuesday night, when the loyalists lobbed bottles of petrol onto houses in Clandeboye before throwing petrol bombs with the intention of setting a whole row of houses alight.

Two houses caught fire but local residents, using their own fire hoses, extinguished the flames. The fire service, which was called to the scene, later hosed down the houses to prevent the possibility of fire in case of further attacks.

Dozens of fireworks have also been fired into Clandeboye. Sinn Fein councillor for the area Joe O'Donnell is pictured holding a number of spent fireworks found at Clandeboye. The bigger ones were packed with metal weights, which are being used as shrapnel and could cause serious injury to anyone close by when the firework explodes.



LVF website targets Holy Cross priest



Holy Cross priest Father Aidan Troy is to ask the RUC/PSNI to investigate how his car registration number ended up being displayed on an LVF website.

The loyalist website also claimed the priest carried Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast, Gerry Kelly, in the vehicle.

Fr Troy expressed his concern that the car registration posted on the loyalist website as his is inaccurate by one digit and this could put some other person's life at risk.



Derry man threatened



Sinn Féin has hit out at the RUC/PSNI after they threatened a 21-year-old Derry man with death if he refused to act as an informer, according to Sinn Féin councillor Paul Fleming.

Danny McBrearty was arrested at lunchtime on Friday 4 October and taken to Strand Road RUC/PSNI barracks, where two plain clothed RUC men tried to pressurise him into acting as an informant and threatened him with imprisonment.

They then gave McBrearty a time and place to meet them. McBrearty said he was told if he went public or told anyone about the approach they would make his life hell. "One of the RUC men said that if nothing came of this, then nothing would give him greater pleasure than to have to go to my father and tell him to come and identify my body," he said.

Paul Fleming told An Phoblacht that this sort of Special Branch activity proves that the war against nationalists is still ongoing. McBrearty has spoken to his solicitor about the incident and has made a complaint to the Police Ombudsman's Office.
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