Northern Ireland news

Victim of sectarian beating Paschal Morgan recovers at home after operation

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

A CATHOLIC man targeted in a brutal sectarian assault in Co Down is recovering at home following extensive surgery.

Paschal Morgan (48) had surgery in the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, Co Down, last week after he was attacked in Kilkeel late on July 14.

He was targeted shortly after he left the Kilmorey Arms Hotel, close to his home, where he had gone for a drink with friends.

Police are treating the attack as a sectarian hate crime.

His wife Rachel (43) said her husband had been "left for dead" and suffered bruising to the front of his brain, shattered eye sockets and cheekbones and extensive cuts to his head.

His family believe he was targeted because he is from a well-known Catholic family in the town.

The father-of-two has been released from hospital following his surgery on Friday.

Mrs Morgan said her husband is recovering but still "has a long way to go".

"He had his surgery on Friday and is going back for more scans," she said.

"He had a lot of swelling. The surgeons had to repair his eyesockets and cheekbones. He's very, very sore.

"With the bruising to the front of his brain his short-term memory is terrible. He forgets that he's eaten or when someone's been to the house.

"There is a lot of numbness under his eyes and he has no feeling on his bad left side at his cheekbone."

She said it is too early to say whether he will need further surgery.

"It's a waiting game at the moment," she said.

"He has to go back (to hospital) in two weeks to get another scan.

"His jaw is very sore and has started to swell which is very worrying."

Rachel Morgan reading one of many cards from well-wishers following a sectarian attack on her husband Paschal in Kilkeel, Co Down

Mrs Morgan said she had been overwhelmed by support from well-wishers in Kilkeel, particularly from Protestant neighbours and friends.

"I have had so many letters and cards from the Protestant community," she said.

"People are coming up the drive and shaking my hand. They all say they're disgusted. No one can believe it happened.

"The support from everyone has been fantastic. Two Protestant councillors and a reverend came up to Paschal's mummy and daddy's house."

Mrs Morgan said her daughter Shannon (24), who found her father lying unconscious following the assault, and son Christopher (21) are struggling to come to terms with the attack.

"Paschal was an innocent guy who was only attacked because of his religion," she said.

"He's still in shock himself. The only reason he was targeted was because of his surname."

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

Rachel Morgan with cards from well-wishers

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