Portadown bandsman assault: ‘Sectarian’ motive queried as PSNI consider other lines of inquiry

Other lines of inquiry are being considered by the PSNI following claims of a ‘sectarian’ attack on a bandsman in Portadown last weekend.

The PSNI had said it was investigating reports of a man attacked in Woodhouse Street in Portadown in the early hours of last Sunday morning.

Police had said the attack was being treated as ‘sectarian’.

Following the incident DUP Cllr Darryn Causby on Monday had condemned a ‘sectarian attack’ and called for a meeting with the PSNI on safety issues in the town.

Police probing incident.

Sinn Fein comments

However Sinn Fein Cllr Paul Duffy refuted this claim and argued that there had been no such attack in Woodhouse Street but elsewhere and further claimed there was no sectarian motive.

Cllr Duffy said: “The police have confirmed at a public meeting of the Policing Partnership that no one was attacked in Woodhouse street and the incident Cllr Causby was referring to happened in another part of the town and has no sectarian motivation.

“Cllr Causby must retract his statement which has the potential to raise community tensions and apologise for his wrongdoing.”

PSNI’s latest statement

Today (Friday June 24) a PSNI spokesperson said: “Police are continuing to investigate a report of an assault in Portadown on Sunday, 19th June.

“It was reported that a man was assaulted by a number of males sometime between 1.30am and 2am in the early hours of Sunday. He was taken to hospital for injuries to his head.

“Initially reported as a sectarian incident, a number of other lines of enquiry are being considered at this time. Police are particularly keen to speak to two men who were possibly assaulted in the Thomas Street area just before this assault.”

Inspector Adam Ruston said: “We continue to work to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident and would appeal for anyone who may have information or may have witnessed an assault to contact police in Lurgan on 101, quoting reference number 772 of 20/06/22.”

Councillor Darryn Causby’s response

In response to the new information, Cllr Causby said: “I don’t take instruction from Sinn Fein. There was an incident at the top of Woodhouse Street. If the PSNI are no longer treating this as sectarian then that is to be welcomed.

“My comments were entirely consistent with the PSNI stated position that they were investigating a sectarian hate crime. Now that it appears that the PSNI have other information and this is no longer being treated as a sectarian hate crime, that is welcome.”

Original statement from the PSNI

The original PSNI statement on Monday stated: “Police are appealing for information following a report of an assault which occurred in the Woodhouse Street area of Portadown on Sunday 19th June.”

Inspector Adam Ruston said: “We received a report on Monday 20th June, that a man in his 20s was verbally abused and assaulted by a number of males sometime between 1:30am and 2am in the early hours of Sunday. The man was taken to hospital for injuries to his head.

“Enquiries are continuing and at this stage, the incident is being treated as a sectarian motivated hate crime.

“We would appeal to anyone with any information to contact police on 101, quoting reference number 772 20/06/22. You can also submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/ .

“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

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