Gerald Lavey: Londonderry man describes paramilitary-style attack

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Media captionGerald Lavey, 30, said his children clung to him during an attack at his home in Creggan

A man beaten with iron bars by a masked gang has blamed dissident republican paramilitaries for an attack at his home in Derry.

Gerald Lavey, 30, said his children clung to him during the attack by up to six men at his home at Ballymagowan Avenue, Creggan, on Monday.

He said the gang dragged him from his living room to the front garden where he was beaten with iron bars and nails.

Hours after the attack, a wheelie bin was set alight next to the house.

Police said they consider both incidents to be linked.

"Any other night I would normally lock the door and put the keys out of reach so nobody could break the glass," said Gerald Lavey.

"But the wee'uns [children] didn't lock the door and the next thing we heard was footsteps coming up the stairs and I just knew then that's what it was.

"They were dragging me down the stairs into the garden and started battering me with iron bars. Just before, my wee girl clung onto me when she seen them and they just pulled her off me."

'Squealing'

Mr Lavey said he feared for the safety of his daughter, 9, and his five-year-old son.

"Its terrible, I don't think they should have had to witness anything at all. They were squealing. I was lying on the garden and they were just welting into me with iron bars with nails in them.

"While I was in the front garden getting battered they [the gang] were smashing up the house. One of them said that's enough, that's enough but the last boy out had to hit me five or six slaps more and then they ran off down the street."

Image caption Police said the fire could have been very serious

Gerald Lavey called those behind the attack "cowards".

"They were shouting about coke but I don't take any sort of drugs. I'm addicted to prescribed medication and that's it. I don't bother anybody I just keep myself to myself.

"Cowards. They had to all come in masks and iron bars and it took five or six of them."