Widespread condemnation after man found nailed to fence in County Antrim | Northern Ireland

There has been widespread condemnation of an attack on a man who was found nailed to a fence in a car park in Bushmills, County Antrim.

The victim, in his 20s, was discovered with nails in both hands and injuries to his nose in the Dundarave Park area. He was taken to hospital for treatment in the early hours of Sunday.

Two vans, one belonging to the injured man, were found on fire nearby and crews from the Northern Ireland fire and rescue service were called to the scene. Graffiti on the wall of public toilets in the vicinity was being linked to the violent attack and arson.

About 20 visitors in campervans and mobile homes were reported to have been in the area at the time of the assault.

Some local people said privately they believed loyalist paramilitaries were responsible.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said the victim of the “brutal” and “sinister” attack had been left with life-changing but not life-threatening injuries.

The PSNI also said paramilitary involvement was one of the lines of inquiry being investigated.

It called on anyone with information or video footage to contact them as part of the police investigation.

The assistant chief constable Bobby Singleton told the BBC: “This criminal and violent behaviour cannot be tolerated in a peaceful community and has to be condemned.”

Local politicians said people were shocked by what happened.

The Alliance party assembly member (MLA) Sian Mulholland told a local radio station there was no place for vigilantism in Northern Ireland in 2024.

“If people do have concerns, the police and the justice system are the routes we have to follow,” she said, “otherwise we are in the wild west.”

A local Traditional Unionist Voice MLA, Jim Allister, said: “It is for the lawful authorities to deal with law-breaking. Mob rule has no place in our society.”

The last reported incident of a similar attack was more than 20 years ago.

In 2002 a 23-year-old man from west Belfast was found “crucified” and with broken legs in a loyalist area in the south of the city. Harry McCartan had to undergo surgery to remove wooden splinters that remained in his hands after the 6in nails were removed.

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