Paul McCauley barbecue killing: Second man pleads guilty to involvement

Paul McCauley died nine years after the 2006 attack
Paul McCauley died nine years after the 2006 attack

A second Londonderry man has admitted his involvement in the death of Catholic civil servant Paul McCauley who died nine years after a sectarian attack left him in a coma from which he never awoke.

However, a charge of murdering the 38-year-old father of one was allowed to “remain on the books”, when Matthew Brian Gillon of Bond Street in the Waterside area of the city, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

The 31-year-old also pleaded guilty to attacking two of Mr McCauley’s friends who were also injured when a gang of loyalists stormed the barbecue they were attending in the Chapel Road area of the Waterside on July 16, 2006.

Gillon was remanded into custody to be sentenced in November along with his co-accused 28-year-old Piper John McClements from the Fountain estate, who on Wednesday pleaded guilty to the murder of Mr McCauley who died on June 6 2015.

When the Londonderry Crown Court non-jury trial resumed yesterday in Belfast, prosecution QC Ciaran Murphy asked trial judge Mr Justice Colton for permission to amend the indictment “by agreement” with the addition of a fourth count.

Defence QC Turlough Montague then applied for Gillon to be rearraigned on the first two counts on the indictment, and the new fourth count.

When the murder charge was put to Gillon he replied: “Not guilty to murder, but guilty to manslaughter.” He then pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to one of Mr McCauley’s friends, and causing a second friend actual bodily harm.

Mr Justice Colton was told by Mr Murphy that he “had had the opportunity of taking instructions” and that Gillon’s guilty pleas satisfied the requirements of the indictment.

The case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports until next month, when a tariff hearing on the life sentence faced by McClements will also be heard. However, Mr Justice Colton indicated “in ease of Mr McCauley’s family” that he would not pass sentence then.

McClements’ case is further complicated, in being one of the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, as he has already served a jail term, under his former name of Daryl Proctor, in relation to the original attack on Mr McCauley.