Magherafelt pensioner viciously beaten by gang as he protected priest’s home

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An elderly Magherafelt man who offered to look after the parochial house while the parish priest was on holiday, was viciously beaten by a gang of thugs.

The man, who is in his seventies, was attacked by at least four men in the grounds of the parochial house at King Street.

The incident happened around 9pm last Wednesday night and police are eager to find those responsible.

The victim ended-up in hospital after sustaining cuts and bruising to his face and was kept over night for observation as he was badly shaken.

SDLP Councillor Jim Campbell said it was a despicable attack on a respectable member of the community.

He explained that the man had been doing a “good turn” in offering to keep eye on the parochial house while Fr John Gates was in Australia.

“It was a brutal assault which has shocked local people,” he said.

There have been a number of burglaries in this area of the town, including a break-in at Castledawson Road where a pensioner woke-up to find two intruders in his bedroom on New Year’s Day morning. The pair assaulted the man before making off empty-handed.

In the same month, a shop assistants at a nearby filling station and grocery shop were left traumatised after being held up at knife point by a masked man who demanded money.

Councillor Campbell appealed for the public to be vigilant and careful in light of last Wednesday’s assault.

Sergeant Sam Young yesterday appealed to the public for information in helping to find the people who carried out the assault.

Information can be given on the police non-emergency number, 101, or by calling the Crimestoppers Charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.