26/05/2009

Youth Arrested Over Coleraine Murder

A 15-year-old youth was this afternoon arrested in connection with the vicious sectarian murder of a Coleraine father-of-four at the weekend.

The news comes as the victim's widow called for no retaliation to the brutual beating.

So far the police, who today defended their response to the fatal assault, have detained 12 people in connection with the murder.

Forty-nine year old Kevin Brendan McDaid was set upon by a loyalist gang near his Somerset Drive home on Sunday.

Another man, 46-year-old Damian Fleming, remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital following the attack.

Police said Mr McDaid, a catholic, was "brutally beaten by a sectarian mob".

His widow, Evelyn, said their family has been "destroyed" by the attack.

Describing the incident, Mrs McDaid, who herself was seriously beaten, said a pregnant friend, who came to her aid, was also assaulted.

Mrs McDaid sustained a head injury and two black eyes while attempting to protect her husband.

"I ran across to help him. They beat me while they beat him," she told the BBC.

"My neighbour had to step in to save me. She was pregnant and they beat her. She shouted 'I'm pregnant,' but they didn't care."

Mrs McDaid said her son tried to resuscitate his father, but she knew he was already dead before the ambulance arrived.

Those who killed her husband need to be punished, said Mrs McDaid, but she insisted there should be no retaliation to the community worker's murder.
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She said that is not what Mr McDaid would have wanted.

"He was my life, he was a very loving father and a great man," she said.

The man still in hospital is also causing grave concern. According to Mr Flemming's family, he has a "50/50" chance of survival, with detectives indicating a second murder inquiry could be launched.

Police patrols have been stepped up in the area following further trouble last night.

Detective Chief Inspector Frankie Taylor said the main line of inquiry for the murder was a "sectarian motive".

Police teams were aware of the potential for disturbances in the area following a football match.

Detectives believe tensions may have flared after Irish tricolours were flown from lampposts.

A senior PSNI officer this afternoon said there is no suggestion loyalist paramilitaries, namely the UDA, were involved in the attack.

Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay said there was "no evidence this was anything other than a maverick group of yobs".

He suggested around 15 males went on "the rampage" in the area, and defended the police's response to the incident.

"Two neighbourhood police officers moved to make an initial arrest of one of the main aggressors, but such was the hostility of the crowd that they had to withdraw and move to rendering first aid.

"They were joined very quickly by a second two officers, who immediately rendered first aid on Mr McDaid, including CPR, in an attempt to save his life," said Constable Finlay.

(PR/BMcC)

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