Northern Ireland news

Catholic man 'left for dead' in Kilkeel sectarian attack says wife

Building contractor Paschal Morgan moments after he was attacked in Kilkeel, Co Down

A CATHOLIC man has been left with horrific head injuries after he was beaten in a brutal sectarian attack in Co Down.

Father-of-two Paschal Morgan (48) has to have extensive surgery after he was targeted on Sunday night.

His distraught wife Rachel (43) said her husband was "left for dead" and suffered bruising to the front of his brain, shattered eye sockets and cheekbones, extensive cuts to his head and a possible broken jaw.

His family, including daughter Shannon (24) and son Christopher (21), believe he was targeted because he is from a well-known Catholic family in the town.

Paschal Morgan (48) suffered severe head injuries after he was attacked in Kilkeel, Co Down

Mrs Morgan said her husband, a building contractor, went for a drink with friends in the Kilmorey Arms Hotel in Kilkeel, close to his home, at around 7.30pm on Sunday.

A man later followed him into the toilets and asked his name.

"He said Paschal Morgan and the man said was he related to Morgan with the newspaper shop," she said.

"He said yes."

She said when her husband returned to the bar, another man sitting at the same table as the first man began screaming sectarian abuse at her husband.

Mr Morgan left the pub at 11.10pm and rang his daughter to ask her to pick him up.

"She told him she was 10 minutes away," Mrs Morgan said.

She said her husband began to walk home up the Greencastle Road.

As his daughter and her boyfriend drove to collect him, they noticed a white BMW parked on the wrong side of the road with the driver's door open.

"Then they saw this man running," she said.

"He got into the car and drove off. That's when they saw Paschal lying on the road. It's a miracle she arrived."

Father-of-two Paschal Morgan and his wife Rachel

She said her unconscious husband was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and only began responding to doctors yesterday afternoon.

"He's unrecognisable," she said.

Mr Morgan is due to be transferred to the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald today ahead of surgery later this week.

"It's been horrendous," Mrs Morgan said.

"We're friends with a lot of Protestants and they can't believe anyone would do this."

She added: "Paschal is a workaholic. He just works and works. He wouldn't say boo to anybody."

Sinn Féin councillor, Seán Doran, who is related to Mr Morgan by marriage, said the 48-year-old was "lucky to be alive".

"I am totally disgusted by what has happened," he said.

"I thought Kilkeel had moved on from these sort of incidents. He is a hard-working fella and I just hope he recovers."

A 34-year-old man was later arrested about the assault. He was released on bail on Monday pending further enquiries.

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