Light sentences for loyalist murder

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Two loyalists have been sentenced to a total of just 13 years for the roles they played in the barbaric murder of Derry man Paul McCauley.

‘Piper John McClements’ (left), previously known as Daryl Proctor, was sentenced to three years in jail for the murder, while Matthew Brian Gillon was handed a ten-year sentence.

The 38-year old civil servant (right) was attacked by a gang of up to ten loyalists whilst attending a barbecue and party at a friend’s house in the Chapel Road area of Derry in July 2005.

He suffered catastrophic head injuries in the unprovoked sectarian attack, and passed away in 2015 after spending nine years in a persistent vegetative state.

Also injured in the incident were Mr McCauley’s two friends, one of whom has muscular dystrophy and who sustained a broken jaw.

In an audio recording heard by the court, Gillen admitted his involvement and callously added “I don’t regret anything”.

“So [I] just grabbed a big f**king lump of wood and said eh, let’s go. So I jumped over the top, turned out there’s only three of them so I put the three of them down... They didn’t know, they were just f**king boys from the other side. They weren’t anybody special that I would know.”

Gillen was cleared of murder and found guilty of manslaughter only.

The gang’s plan was initially to travel to the Waterside and remove a tricolour from outside the lamppost of a bar. However, the gang came across Mr McCauley and his friends - who were having a barbecue in the garden of a house at Chapel Road.

They heard the sound of running before they were attacked. Despite medical intervention and after a period in hospital, Mr McCauley was transferred to a care home, where he passed away surrounded by family on June 6, 2015.

McClements, aka Proctor, from The Fountain in Derry, has already served a sentence for bodily harm for the same incident and had been released in 2015 within weeks of Mr McCauley’s passing. The judge said he took this into consideration when sentencing him again, this time for murder, but to just three years.

The judge sought to justify the light sentences: “I recognise that the loss of Paul’s life cannot be measured by the length of a prison sentence. There is no term of imprisonment that I can impose that will cure the anguish and loss suffered.”

Speaking outside the court, Mr McCauley’s father James criticised the sentences. He said: “It was a crime of the utmost cruelty and this could only be fully understood by those closely involved.

“I acknowledge the support of the family and the hospital care professionals who worked tirelessly with Paul for the nine years up until his death.”

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