Victim suffers broken leg in ‘brutal beating’

A VICIOUS beating has left a Magherafelt man with a broken leg.

Thirty-one-year-old Darren Love (pictured right) claims he was the victim of a “sectarian revenge” attack on Boxing Night.

He was released from hospital this week after undergoing surgery in the Royal Victoria Hospital for injuries to his right leg.

“I had ten pins put into my leg and it will be in a cage for about three months,” he said.

Mr Love, from Leckagh Drive in the town, says he had been out with his wife and sister and they had just left the bar at Garden Street around 12.45am when the attack happened.

“They were waiting for us a short distance from the bar and as we walked along I heard them call us black bastards,” he said.

“One of them said to me ‘alright chubby cheeks’ before punching me in the head. I went down in the ice and while I was lying on the road I was kicked in the head.”

Mr Love claimed there were about 15 people involved but only five took part in the main assault.

“I was shouting and yelling with the pain from my smashed leg and they made off,” he said.

He believes he received the beating in revenge for an earlier attack on a Catholic man in Magherafelt.

“I recognised those involved and will be making a statement to the police,” he added.

Progressive Unionist Party representative Ken Wilkinson said he totally and utterly condemned the incident.

“I would appeal to anyone who witnessed the attack to give information to the PSNI,” he said.

“I would also urge people not to take the law into their own hands as that usually ends up with some innocent person getting hurt.”

Mr Wilkinson said it was a shame that Mr Love’s injuries resulted in him spending part of the holiday period in hospital and being incapacitated for the next three months.

Condemning the incident, DUP Assemblyman Ian McCrea claimed Mr Love was attacked for “nothing other than being a Protestant.”

“I would call upon anyone who saw this incident on Boxing Night to come forward to the police to ensure the person responsible is brought to justice,” he added.