Newt hears echoes of Lawrence in PSNI probe of sectarian attack; UUP mixed messages exposed

The vicious sectarian attack on James Turley in the Village area of Belfast was in the media spotlight throughout the week. However, in today’s Irish News, Newt Emerson raises a number of issues regarding the handling of the incident by the PSNI:

Why did the PSNI issue no statement on the attck of James Turley, the film extra left for dead in south Belfast’s Village area? An incident of this seriousness would normally appear on its news feed. Nor do there seem to have been any house-to-house inquiries, arrests for questioning or prompt investigations of the crime scene. The nature of the area and the large number of assailants, reportedly up to 15, may provide an explanation. The Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry showed that attacks of this type can see the police switch from crime solving to ‘public order’ mode. Does the PSNI have a ‘public order’ issue with tackling crime in the Village?

Whilst the DUP have remained somewhat muted in relation to this incident (so much for that outreach to potential catholic voters…), there has been strong condemnation from many other unionist representatives of the attack- including local UUP representative Bob Stoker and former loyalist MLA Dawn Purvis.

However, the attempts by one Ulster Unionist Party member and former election candidate, Neil McNickle, to blacken the character of the victim prompted one Damien Carlisle to produce this stinging attack video for Youtube, taking apart McNickle’s Twitter strategy (though individuals not used to hearing language alien to the clergy should steer clear!)