A Catholic community worker was beaten to death by men shouting that they were members of the Ulster Defence Association, his widow said today.
Evelyn McDaid, a Protestant who suffered serious head injuries when she tried to save her husband Kevin,spoke as police questioned nine men over the killing.
“UDA, they called themselves the UDA. I went across to help him and they beat me while they beat him,” she said.
“My neighbour had to step in to save me and she was pregnant and they beat her too and she shouted ‘I’m pregnant’ and they didn’t care.”
She added: “It was all to do with religion, and I’m not even a Catholic. I am a Protestant, it’s a mixed marriage, but they just seem to hate us so much.”
Mr McDaid, 49, was killed in Coleraine, Co Londonderry, on Sunday evening. Another man, Damien Fleming, 46, is in intensive care and his case is being treated by police as attempted murder.
Both men were targeted by separate gangs of up to 40 men who entered a mainly Catholic housing estate after Glasgow Rangers won the Scottish Premier League.
Mrs McDaid appealed for the Catholic community not to respond to the attacks.
“He wouldn’t want retaliation for it,” she said.
“He wouldn’t want my sons to get hurt, he wouldn’t want this. He was trying to keep the peace, he didn’t want all this, the nonsense that’s been going on here for years and years. He wanted peace.”
Mr McDaid, a former plasterer, had three sons and a foster son. His widow said that the family’s life had been shattered.
“My life’s over,” she said. “A big part of me is missing now. He was my soulmate and now that’s finished. I have to try to go on for the wee foster boy and my other three sons. I have to try and go on but I’ve lost a very big part of me and I can never replace that, never ever.”
Celtic scarves have been tied on railings and flowers left close to the scene of the savage attack.
Ryan McDaid, one of the dead man’s sons, claimed that police stood by and did nothing during the attack. “The police sat and watched as Dad died, they never moved,” he said.
“There were four police officers in a car and they sat and watched from Pates Lane. They never moved, never came, never helped.
“Before I rang the police on my mobile I was shouting at them [the police in the waiting patrol car]. They didn’t want to know, they were 100 yards away. They saw the whole thing and did nothing.
“He died in my arms, dad was staggering up the road, he had gone out to help Damien. Damien was getting beaten and I rang the police on my mobile. Four or five times I rang 999. They said they were coming.
“When dad staggered up and he fell I was trying to bring him around again and I rang the ambulance on my mobile as he was in my arms. Police arrived in a van and ran up and gave Dad CPR but it was too little too late.”
Mr McDaid said that the family would be taking the matter to the Police Ombudsman’s Office.
A police spokesman said that all the circumstances surrounding Mr McDaid’s death were being thoroughly investigated.