A Catholic man has described how loyalists discussed cutting up his body with a saw after they mistakenly thought they had stabbed him to death.
Michael Reid was speaking as a man, Neill White, appeared in court awaiting sentence for the brutal attack in March 2003.
The judge said the case had an added significance because of the ongoing problem of sectarianism in Ballymena.
Mr Reid had been visiting a Protestant friend’s house in the Harryville area of the town when brothers Neill and Aaron White and another man arrived.
After discovering that Mr Reid was a Catholic, Neill White wrapped a telephone cable around his neck and tried to strangle him. When his brother, Aaron, took over choking the victim, Neill White stabbed Mr Reid in the head, back and neck.
At the same time he was repeatedly beaten over the head with a frying pan.
As Mr Reid fell to the floor and pretended to be dead his attackers continued to stab and kick him. They then discussed using a saw to cut up his body.
When Aaron White and the third man left the house to find a saw Mr Reid tried to escape but was caught by Neill White and stabbed again.
After a scuffle he managed to escape and was found by police collapsed on the road.
Speaking for the first time yesterday of his ordeal, Mr Reid said: “They were shouting ‘Die you fenian bastard, die’ as they stabbed me. There was blood everywhere.
“I remember lying on the ground and listening to them discussing how they were going to cut up my body to get rid of it.
“I was only able to escape because two of them left the house to get a saw and the fact that I am 6ft 4ins.
“If I had been smaller or they had all stayed in the house I wouldn’t be alive today.”
Neill White’s brother Aaron and the third attacker have never been caught.
Mr Reid fled Ballymena after the attack and has been in hiding ever since.
Raising concerns that two of his attackers are still at large, he said: “I think it is a disgrace they have never been caught.
“I think the police could be doing more to catch these guys.
“Why hasn’t Aaron White’s picture appeared in the newspapers or on Crimewatch?
“My life will never be safe until they are behind bars.”
Neill White, who pleaded guilty to attempted murder in June, is expected to be sentenced at a later date.
Posters have been put up in the County Antrim village of Ahoghill urging Protestants to ‘defend’ their village, using violence if necessary.
Addressed to “the loyalist people of Ahoghill” the notices - the source of which is unknown - state that anyone trying to “endanger our strength” should be “eradicated”.
It also calls for an end to “republican, nationalist and roman influences within the community”. A number of Catholic families have been forced to leave the village following a recent surge in sectarian attacks.
Sinn Féin North Antrim assembly member Philip McGuigan said the sentiments expressed were akin to those of the Klu Klux Klan.
The poster warns: “We must ensure that where we have a stronghold we must maintain this and eradicate those from our midst who wish to endanger our strength.”
It also states action will be taken if “as much as one family in Ahoghill” be targeted by dissident republicans.
“We shall defend our culture in Ahoghill no matter what cost this incurs and reserve the right to be pro-active in doing so.”
Mr McGuigan last night called on Protestants in Ahoghill to “stand up against this”.
“This is obviously another sinister twist in the summer of campaigning and threats against the nationalist people of Ahoghill,” he said.
“The author purports to be the real voice of the Protestant people of Ahoghill but to me the sentiment expressed are akin to those you would expect to have heard from the Klu Klux Klan.”