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Blasted Mum says UDA thugs tried to murder son because he supports Celtic

Celtic is his life and he got himself into rows on Facebook but that’s all it was"

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Wendy Fleming at her home in Coleraine this week

Wendy Fleming at her home in Coleraine this week

Wendy Fleming at her home in Coleraine this week

The mother of shooting victim Paul Fleming says the UDA tried to murder him simply because he supports Celtic.

The 36-year-old was shot in the head on Tuesday night when loyalist thugs went to his home in Coleraine, Co Derry to kill him – blasting him through a glass pane of his front door before firing again while he lay on the ground.

Paul managed to stagger down the stairs of his block of flats on Churchlands Road to get help – these pictures show blood was pouring from his head as he went.

The father of three, with another on the way, is lucky to be alive – doctors told the family had the bullet been a quarter of a millimetre either side he’d have been killed.

He’s currently in the Ulster Hospital fighting for his life after his condition worsened on Thursday night.

Now security sources fear the North Antrim UDA – already behind a number of recent gun attacks – are going back to the dark days of a sectarian war.

Fleming has no connections with criminality and, speaking exclusively to the Sunday World, his mum Wendy and partner Danielle say the only reason he was shot was because he winds up loyalists on Facebook about Celtic Football Club.

“The UDA tried to kill my son because he supports Celtic,” Wendy told us on Friday. “That’s the only reason we can think of.

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The blasted front door

The blasted front door

The blasted front door

“That’s all he’s into – Celtic and taking a drink. Loyalists have targeted him before so this isn’t the first time. He used to live with me and the house was attacked with a petrol bomb and the windows were put in.

“Celtic is his life and he got himself into rows on Facebook but that’s all it was. I fear they’ll be back to kill my Paul. I only have two kids and people always slag Paul because he’s a mammy’s boy.

“We are both Celtic season ticket holders and we go over to the games regularly together. I know he had a bit of a row with a fella who shouted at Paul that he was going to get him shot – but we don’t know if that had anything to do with this.

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Paul Fleming with his mum Wendy outside Celtic Park in Glasgow – both are season ticket holders

Paul Fleming with his mum Wendy outside Celtic Park in Glasgow – both are season ticket holders

Paul Fleming with his mum Wendy outside Celtic Park in Glasgow – both are season ticket holders

“I could easily have been burying my son this week. The people who did this are nothing but cowards.”

The family are angry at how the attack has been portrayed by the police.

“The way the police described the shooting you’d have thought he had been shot on the toe or something,” says partner Danielle, who is due to give birth to the couple’s baby daughter in April.

“Paul was shot in the head. He was shot deliberately in the head. Look at the height the bullet went through the glass. They were aiming at his head. They wanted to kill him. He was blasted with such force he was lifted up in the air and sent flying into his bedroom.

“They fired another shot at him as he lay bleeding but thankfully they missed. The police seem to be trying to play this down.”

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Pregnant: Danielle with Paul

Pregnant: Danielle with Paul

Pregnant: Danielle with Paul

The Sunday World asked the PSNI on Thursday night if they were investigating a sectarian motive for the cowardly attack, but they didn’t respond.

On Friday Paul underwent treatment treatment to have tissue removed from the wound and yesterday he had a five hour living saving operation.

“We have only got to see him briefly because of the coronavirus and because I’m pregnant they don’t want me in the hospital. It’s so hard that we can’t be with him,” says an emotional Danielle.

“We’ve been together for just over seven months and Paul is brilliant. He’s so laid back and chilled out, he’s a decent guy who happens to be mad about Celtic. We had plans for a great future and talked about getting married at some stage.

“We had a gender reveal party on Monday night and told everyone we were having a baby girl. It was such a happy night.

“Then the next night he was nearly murdered. If the party had been that night they would have killed him because he’d have taken a drink and he’d have left his door open.

“Now I’m genuinely fearful they’ll come back and kill him or attack me too.”

The family were also upset at newspaper articles linking his shooting with that of a 61-year-old woman in Coleraine last month.

Although it’s suspected the same UDA terror cell was behind both attacks, the attack on Sally Cummings is not connected.

“It might be the same crowd who did it but my son had nothing to do with drugs,” reiterated Paul’s mum.

“Paul was never involved in anything like that and I don’t want anyone thinking there’s any link between him and drugs.

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Paul’s blood still lies on the stairs

Paul’s blood still lies on the stairs

Paul’s blood still lies on the stairs

“This is about pure sectarianism, nothing else. We are supposed to be in a time of peace. I couldn’t believe it when I heard he had been shot.

“I got a call to say he had been beaten with sticks and I had to go to his flat. They didn’t want to tell me on the phone that he’d been shot in the head.

“When I got there I collapsed, I was in total shock.”

PSNI Superintendent Ian Magee said the incident was “another horrible attack, a totally reckless shooting”.

“We have people coming under the cover of darkness, in the shadows of the night, criminals coming and shooting into people’s houses,” he said.

“As a result of that we have people in a residential area, families, older people, and they are rightly shocked and frightened about what has happened.

“I need information to come in from the community to help me to rid it of this scourge,” Supt McGee added.

On Thursday night two firearms – which the police believe were used by the North Antrim UDA in both recent gun attacks – were recovered.

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell said: “Our investigation into these vile and callous attacks are continuing. The two firearms were recovered from the Greenhall Highway area on Wednesday 25th November and have been taken away for further forensic examinations to determine if they were involved in both shooting incidents.”

Two men were arrested during the week in connection with the shooting at the home of Sally Cummings.

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