02 April 2005

Daily Ireland

Loyalist attack victim to sue PSNI

A Co Armagh man who was almost kicked to death by loyalists three years ago has launched legal proceedings against the PSNI chief constable for negligence and breach of duty.
Papers were lodged in the High Court in Belfast last week by solicitors representing Brian Rouse. The Portadown man was almost beaten to death by a gang of loyalists near the town centre on March 24, 2002.
The 48-year-old father of four was trying to separate rival gangs of youths who had clashed at a notorious flashpoint close to the Garvaghy Road. A group of loyalists then set upon him and viciously beat him up.
Mr Rouse had previously survived a loyalist murder bid in the early 1990s.
Daniel Rouse, the beating victim’s father, was murdered in a similar attack in November 1983.
The Ulster Volunteer Force is believed to have been responsible.
It is claimed the brutal attack on Brian Rouse took place within sight of two closed-circuit television cameras operated by police in the staunchly loyalist town.
Several hundred metres away is the spot where loyalists savagely beat up Portadown man Robert Hamill in April 1997 as police looked on.
Brian Rouse, a former lorry driver, said a police control room had been understaffed and so a series of incidents leading up to and including the attack on him had gone unnoticed.
In 2003, the Compensation Agency denied Mr Rouse damages for criminal injury because he had been convicted of carrying out a minor scheduled offence as an 18-year-old in 1975.
Mr Rouse suffered brain damage during the 2002 incident. He was left with a gaping head wound, which required 27 staples. Even today, he is forced to attend the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for regular check-ups.
After undergoing three years of intensive physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy, Mr Rouse still suffers from paralysis down his right side and occasional memory lapses.
Since the attack, Mr Rouse has been unable to work. His wife was forced to leave her job to help care for him. Surviving only on state benefits, the family have accrued significant debt just to survive day by day.
“I’m not the same man I was,” Mr Rouse said.
“There’s not a hope in hell I will get back to 100 per cent. I don’t remember much about the incident at all and more or less go on what people tell me.
A police spokesperson said: "We cannot comment on active legal proceedings."

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