Petrol bomb victim ‘beyond recognition’ (UTV)

The family of a man who was set on fire in a petrol bomb attack in Londonderry say he has been left so disfigured he is unrecognisable.

Thomas Curry suffered 40% burns to his body last Friday after the window of his home in the Waterside was smashed and two petrol bombs were thrown inside.

They exploded around him in a ball of flame, leaving him with severe injuries to his face and head, arms and upper body. The 45-year-old remains in a critical condition.

Mr Curry’s relatives describe him as a “gentle giant who bothered no-one”.

His sister Helen said she’ll never forget the moment she saw him in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, where he’s fighting to survive the attack.

“It’s one that’ll always stay with me and the rest of the family,” she told UTV.

He never bothered with anyone. Just a gentle giant, that’s what he was.

Helen Curry
“He doesn’t look like himself at all … badly burned. He’s unrecognisable to the family and we were just shocked when we did see him.”

Three men and a woman were arrested in connection with the attack and later bailed.

Police are treating it as attempted murder. They are exploring a number of lines of inquiry, including the possibility that the petrol bombers were intending to target another man.

Thomas’ brother, Patrick Curry, said: “I don’t know what kind of people would do the like of that. You wouldn’t do that to an animal, that’s the way we see it. It’s … we don’t know, we haven’t got a clue why they done it. Thomas bothered nobody. He lived on his own.”

Two neighbours in Benvarden Avenue risked their own lives to help Mr Curry from the burning house, an act which the family say they are very grateful for.

Patrick continued: “If they wouldn’t have, Thomas wouldn’t have been here today.

“It was a very courageous thing they did. They risked their own lives to do that, so we’re very grateful for that.”

Mr Curry is now battling for every breath, and his sisters and brothers are enduring an agonising, heart-rending bedside vigil.

They joined police in appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

“We definitely do need justice for Thomas,” said Helen Curry. “You know Thomas was innocent and if they did this to him, God only knows what they’re capable of.”


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