11 September 2003 Edition

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Catholic man survives sectarian hatchet attack

A CATHOLIC MAN was left for dead after being struck on the head with a hatchet by a gang of Shankill Road loyalists, as he walked home along Carrick Hill in the early hours of Sunday morning 7 September.

The latest sectarian attack has led to calls for action, after a spate of sectarian attacks in the area, which is close to the loyalist Shankill Road.

Katrina McMoran, who lives in a flat on Carrick Hill in North Belfast, said she heard a woman scream and when she went to investigate she saw a number of loyalists attacking a man who was with the woman.

"I didn't see the other man lying unconscious on the ground bleeding from a gap on his forehead where the hatchet had struck him. It looked like the woman's husband had been attacked coming to help him. They left the young man for dead''.

McMoran told how she saw a group of about five loyalists walking calmly onto the Shankill Road after the attack.

A number of loyalists nearby were seen talking on mobile phones before a black car, which had been driving about the area, returned to the scene.

"It looked like they were phoning for these cars to come and pick them up after this attack''.

The young woman said her mother and sister went to the young man's aid and brought him into their flat before phoning for an ambulance.

"He had a large open wound on his head from the crown to the forehead. It was sticking up and was open. I told him he had a broken arm because it was round his back and he couldn't move it''.

Residents of Carrick Hill said the situation for Catholics had worsened on the notorious stretch of road from Clifton Street, past the Shankill and on to the Falls Road.

The victim of the attempted murder bid lived in the Gransha area of West Belfast.

An Phoblacht has learned that, hours after the attempted murder bid, a group of men were chased by the loyalist attackers in the same vicinity. However the loyalists abandoned their chase when they found that the men they were after were themselves Protestants.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1