Sectarian murder attempt in Derry
By Laura Friel
A Catholic businessman narrowly escaped death after loyalists beat him
unconscious before setting fire to his shop in the Tullyalley estate
on the outskirts of Derry.
Gerard Brolly was pulled from the blaze within minutes of certain
death as the fire swept through the fish and chip shop in the early
hours of Sunday, 11 January.
The attack, which involved a number of men, took place shortly after
3am. The owner was knocked unconscious after refusing to hand over
money to the gang. The attackers then set fire to the premises,
pulling the shop's shutters down as they left.
The victim was found lying behind the counter with a display unit on
top of him. The back of the building was ablaze and the rest of the
shop filled with dense smoke.
The shopkeeper was taken to Altnagelvin hospital, where he was
detained and treated for smoke inhalation and bruising.
Initial RUC statements concerning the attack cited robbery as the
motive but nothing is believed to have been taken from the premises by
Tullyalley is a predominantly loyalist estate. Local sources believe
that the motive behind the attack was sectarian. ``This was a sectarian
murder attempt,'' said the source. ``Everyone around here knows it. I
don't know why the RUC are passing it off as a robbery.''