Man recovering from Belfast crucifixion ordeal

 

A man was in hospital today after being crucified by being nailed to wooden posts near Belfast. He was so badly beaten his father could only identify him by a tattoo.

Mr Harry McCartan (23) was taken to hospital semi-conscious with his hands still impaled on fencing after firefighters cut him free.

He had also been battered about the legs with a blunt instrument, possibly spiked with nails, inflicting multiple punctures to his legs.

As surgeons at the city's Royal Victoria Hospital last night battled to save his hands, the victim's father, Henry, described the horror of seeing his son after the gruesome ordeal.

"He was covered in muck and he was bleeding from his eyes and bleeding from his ears," he said.

"His face was unrecognisable, I had to identify him by a tattoo on his arm."

A hospital spokesman said Mr McCartan was in a stable condition.

Paramilitary vigilantes have been blamed for the vicious beating at Dunmurry on the south west outskirts of Belfast early yesterday. The attack has been linked to alleged car crime in the area.

Even by the brutal standards of Northern Ireland's so-called punishment attacks, police said this was a horrific assault.

The victim was found in the staunchly loyalist Seymour Hill estate just a few miles from his home in the nationalist Poleglass estate.

But the officer leading the hunt for the gang who inflicted the injuries said he did not believe it was a sectarian attack.

Superintendent Gerry Murray said: "I have never come across anything so barbaric. This is a young man who was set upon by an unknown group who brutally beat him and then nailed him to a post."