Northern Ireland

Kilkeel: Paschal Morgan beaten in 'sectarian attack'

Paschal Morgan with his wife Rachel before the attack Image copyright Morgan family
Image caption Paschal Morgan's wife Rachel - pictured with him before the attack - says he was left for dead

Police are treating an attack on a man in Kilkeel, County Down, as a sectarian hate crime, the BBC understands.

Paschal Morgan, 48, a Catholic father-of-two, will require surgery after he was beaten up on Sunday night, the Irish News has reported.

Warning: This article contains graphic images

His wife Rachel said he was "left for dead" and sustained bruising to his brain, shattered eye sockets and cheek bones, as well as extensive head cuts.

A 34-year-old man was arrested but has since been released on bail.

Police said the incident happened at about 23:25 BST on Sunday on Greencastle Road, close to its junction with Manse Road.

Mrs Morgan told the Irish News that her husband was unconscious when his daughter Shannon found him lying on the road.

Image copyright Morgan family
Image caption Paschal Morgan's family released photos of his extensive injuries

Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard said Mr Morgan was the victim of a "savage attack" that had shocked the town's community.

"He was brutally beaten in a sectarian attack, which left him for dead and requiring extensive surgery," he said.

Image copyright Morgan family
Image caption Paschal Morgan was taken to hospital where he needed surgery

SDLP MLA Sinead Bradley described the attack as "barbaric", adding: "Vicious and sickening sectarianism has no support in our community.

"It takes a sick and depraved individual to inflict the kind of violence that Paschal Morgan suffered on Sunday evening," she added.