Northern Ireland

UDA used nail gun to ‘crucify’ paramilitary attack victim

Dutch nurse who was on holiday helped the injured man

Scene at Bushmills in Co-Antrim where a man had his hands nailed to a fence and two vans were burnt out. Graffiti was also painted on a public toilet block in the popular tourist town close to the Giants Causeway. Picture Margaret Mclaughlin 5-5-2024
A man had his hands nailed to a fence in Co Antrim at the weekend (MARGARET MCLAUGHLIN PHOTOGRAPHY )

A UDA gang used a nail gun to ‘crucify’ a man during a “barbaric” punishment-style attack.

The victim was nailed to a garden fence in the picturesque village of Bushmills, Co Antrim, in the early hours of Sunday.

The Irish News also understands that a hammer used to hit the man on the head was left at the scene.

Two vans, one belonging to the injured man, were found on fire in a car park near Dundarave Park while graffiti believed to reference a “final warning” to the victim was daubed on nearby public toilets.

Threatening graffiti in Bushmills
Threatening graffiti in Bushmills

The PSNI later said the man was left with potentially life-changing but not life-threatening injuries.

Sources say a group of tourists who were in a nearby carpark, including a visiting nurse from the Netherlands, were among the first people to arrive on the scene and provide assistance to the man until the emergency services arrived.

Firefighters later cut away a section of two boards from the wooden fence in order to free the victim before they brought him to hospital in one of their vehicles.

The attack is believed to have been carried out by a faction of the UDA based in the Bushmills area.

It is understood that victim, who is not originally from the village, had previously been threatened by the paramilitary group.

In recent years he organisation in north Antrim has been linked to a string of serious incidents including murder, attempted murder, drug dealing and other types of criminality.

Sunday’s attack is not the first time loyalists have used ‘crucifixion’ during a punishment-style attack.

In 2002 a Catholic man was beaten and nailed to a fence in the Seymour Hill estate near Lisburn.

The attack on the latest victim has been widely condemned.

Alliance MLA Sian Mulholland described the attack as “absolutely uncalled for and unjustifiable”.

She said that there was “no place for vigilantism”, adding this was “something that shouldn’t be happening in 2024 in our society”.

She added the “ripple effects” of the “barbaric” attack will impact the community in Bushmills.

A spokesman for the PSNI said: “As this investigation is at an early stage, it would be inappropriate to comment any further regarding exact items used in the attack.”