Tag Archives: Lenny Murphy

James Craig UDA – Life & Death

James Pratt Craig

Life and Death

James Pratt Craig (17 November 1941 – 15 October 1988) was an Ulster loyalist paramilitary during The Troubles in Northern Ireland in the latter half of the 20th Century, who was a member of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), and was a command member of its Inner Council.

 He also ran a criminal large-scale protection racket from the West Belfast Shankill Road area, where he resided. Described by journalist David McKittrick as:

“Belfast’s foremost paramilitary extortionist”,

Craig allegedly colluded at times with the enemies of the UDA, Irish Republican groups such as the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), providing them with information on key loyalists which led to their subsequent murders.  Aside from controlling rackets and extorting protection money from a variety of businesses, it was claimed that Craig also participated in paramilitary murders.

— Disclaimer –

The views and opinions expressed in this post/documentaries  are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

He was accused by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) of setting up the assassinations of some of their key members by IRA hit squads, such as Shankill Butcher Lenny MurphyJohn Bingham, and William “Frenchie” Marchant in the 1980s. Craig was murdered by the UDA, using their cover name of the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), for alleged “treason” as it was believed he had passed information to the IRA regarding South Belfast UDA commander John McMichael, who was killed by an IRA booby-trap car bomb in December 1987. Craig was shot dead in The Castle Inn, a pub in Beersbridge Road, East Belfast.

See: John McMichael

James Craig
James Craig
BornJames Pratt Craig
17 November 1941
BelfastNorthern Ireland
Died15 October 1988 (aged 46)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Cause of deathMultiple gunshot wounds
NationalityBritish
Other namesJim Craig
Known forUlster Defence Association (UDA) fund-raiser and Inner Council member
racketeer

Ulster Defence Association

See: UDA Page

Beginnings

The Shankill Road area, early 1970s

James Pratt Craig, known as Jim, was born in Belfast in 1941 and grew up in an Ulster Protestant family on the Shankill Road.  In the early 1970s, Craig, a former boxer, was sent to the Maze Prison for a criminal offence unrelated to paramilitary activities. While serving his sentence at the Maze he joined the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), and he was asked by the organisation’s commander at the time, Charles Harding Smith to take control of the UDA prisoners inside, on account of his reputation as a “hard man”.

Criminal activities

After his release in 1976,  he set up a large protection racket and became the UDA’s chief fundraiser; by 1985 he had managed to blackmail and extort money from a number of construction firms, building sites, as well as pubs, clubs, and shops in Belfast and elsewhere in Northern Ireland, whose intimidated owners paid protection money out of fear of Craig and his associates.

It was alleged that the UDA received hundreds of thousands of pounds some of which also found their way inside Craig’s pockets as part of his “commission”. He was acquitted on a firearm charge and Ulster Freedom Fighters (a cover name for the UDA) membership on 18 March 1982.  In 1985, Craig was brought to court after a number of businessmen decided to testify against him, with the condition that their identities remained hidden. The case fell apart when Craig’s defence argued that his client’s rights were violated by the concealment of the witnesses’ identities.

Craig was alleged to have been involved in the double killing of a Catholic man and a Protestant man on the Shankill Road in 1977. The men, both work colleagues, had entered a loyalist club and were later stabbed, shot and put into a car which was set on fire. By this time the West Belfast UDA no longer wanted him in their ranks, as they claimed they could no longer “afford him”.

Craig, who was ordered to leave the Shankill Road, went on to join forces with John McMichael‘s South Belfast Brigade. In addition to being the principal fundraiser, Craig also sat on the UDA’s Inner Council. Craig usually travelled in the company of his bodyguard Artie Fee, a UDA member from the Shankill Road.

The rival Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) carried out an investigation after it was rumoured Craig had been involved in the death of UVF major William Marchant, who was gunned down by Provisional IRA gunmen from a passing car on the Shankill Road on 28 April 1987. Marchant was the third high-ranking UVF man to be killed by the IRA during the 1980s. Although their inquiries revealed that Craig had quarrelled with Marchant as well as Lenny Murphy and John Bingham prior to their killings, the UVF felt that there was not enough evidence to warrant an attack on such a powerful UDA figure as Craig.

See : Lenny Murphy

In December 1987, when South Belfast UDA brigadier John McMichael was blown up by an IRA booby-trap car bomb outside his home in Lisburn‘s Hilden estate, it was believed that Craig had organised his death with the IRA.

Allegedly Craig had feared McMichael was about to expose his racketeering business, thus putting an end to his lucrative operation. McMichael had reportedly set up an inquiry and discovered that Craig was spending money on a lavish scale, going on holidays at least twice a year and indulging in a:

“champagne lifestyle”.

 At the same time it was suggested that Craig had made certain deals with Irish republican paramilitary groups, dividing up the rackets in west Belfast, and he would have been doing the IRA a favour by helping them to eliminate a high-profile loyalist such as McMichael.  Craig had established links with republicans during his time in prison, and the profitable deals and exchanges of information between them ensured he would most likely not be a target for IRA assassination.

Craig was named as an extortionist in Central Television’s 1987 programme The Cook Report. Craig planned to sue the programme’s producers for libel; in January 1988, Jack Kielty (father of future television presenter Patrick Kielty), a building contractor from County Down who had promised to testify as a key witness against Craig, was murdered by the UDA. This killing was attributed to Craig, although it was never proven.

Death

“Bunch of Grapes” pub in Beersbridge Road, east Belfast where Craig was shot dead. At the time it was called “The Castle Inn”

Craig was shot dead by two gunmen from the UDA in “The Castle Inn” (later called “The Bunch of Grapes”), a pub in Beersbridge Road, east Belfast on 15 October 1988, to where he had been lured in the belief that there was to have been a UDA meeting.

He was playing pool in the pub at the time of his fatal shooting by the two men, both of whom were wearing boiler suits and ski masks and carrying automatic weapons.  Upon spotting Craig they opened fire, spraying the room with gunfire. Craig died instantly; a bystander pensioner was also murdered in the attack, and four other bystanders were wounded by stray bullets. The UDA claimed the killing was carried out due to Craig’s “treason” and involvement in John McMichael’s murder as they knew he had provided the IRA with information to successfully carry out the assassination.

They apologised for the unintentional death of the pensioner. Craig was not given a paramilitary funeral, and none of the UDA’s command attended it.

Andy Tyrie, the UDA’s former supreme commander, was not convinced of Craig’s complicity in McMichael’s killing. In an interview with Peter Taylor, he stated that after McMichael’s death, the UDA set up an inquiry, but couldn’t find any solid proof which linked Craig to McMichael’s assassination. Tyrie maintained that the two men had been good friends, and that Craig had given McMichael £20,000 to keep the latter’s pub (The Admiral Benbow) from failing. Tyrie suggested that Craig was a suspect because his wife was Catholic.

 Tyrie insisted that John Hanna, a prison officer in the Maze, had supplied the IRA with information about McMichael through Rosena Brown, a Belfast actress and IRA intelligence operative, with whom Hanna had been infatuated.

McMichael’s son, Gary, however, firmly believed Craig to have been the person behind his father’s killing. Less than three months after McMichael’s death, Tyrie himself narrowly escaped an attempt on his life by car bomb; he subsequently tendered his resignation as commander.

Reputation

According to McKittrick, Craig’s:

“notoriety and range of enemies meant he could have been killed by almost any paramilitary group, loyalist or republican”.

Described as stocky of build, he wore expensive clothing and jewellery, and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle from the proceeds of his racketeering. Author and journalist Martin Dillon wrote that Craig was not intelligent but was “cunning, boastful and ruthless”.

There was also much antipathy between him and UDA brigadier Tommy “Tucker” Lyttle due to Craig having allegedly made Lyttle’s daughter pregnant. Lyttle died of natural causes in October 1995.   It was later revealed that Lyttle had worked as an informer for the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)’s Special Branch.

Craig reportedly invited RUC officers to an extravagant wedding reception held for his daughter. Author Sally Belfrage who encountered Craig at an “Eleventh night” party held at the UDA’s east Belfast headquarters, summed him up as “the most personally powerful man I had ever met, with an air of animal force that inspired awe at the idea of its ever being let loose. He was also as drunk as I had ever seen anyone in my life who could still more or less negotiate a sentence and a sequence of steps.” She claimed Craig had propositioned her; when she rebuffed his advances he took it in his stride, and grabbing a microphone, went on to lead the other revellers in a rendition of “The Sash My Father Wore“.

Dillon, in his book about the violent loyalist gang, the Shankill Butchers, recounted how Craig casually killed a man in a UDA club after a fellow UDA member handed him a jammed pistol. Craig, testing the weapon, allegedly pointed it at a man who was playing pool, and shot him in the head, killing him instantly. Craig then gave orders for the man’s body to be dumped in an adjacent alley. Dillon believes Craig had killed UDA commander William “Bucky” McCullough in October 1981 after the latter discovered Craig had been stealing funds from the UDA for his own personal use. The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) had claimed responsibility for the killing.

Jackie McDonald, who was part of Craig’s protection racket, was arrested in 1989. He had taken over McMichael’s command of the South Belfast UDA, having been promoted to the rank of brigadier by Andy Tyrie in 1988. In January 1990, he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment inside the Maze for extortion, blackmail, and intimidation. McDonald was released in 1994. In an interview with Peter Taylor, he made the following statement regarding his former association with Craig:

I would say without a shadow of doubt the worst thing that ever happened to South Belfast, John McMichael and myself especially, was that Jim Craig ever had anything to do with our organisation.

One builder who later assisted the RUC when they set up an anti-racketeering unit, admitted that he had paid out protection money throughout the 1980s to Craig and his henchmen. The amount of money he handed over increased each year.

Dillon suggested that prior to Craig’s killing, younger elements within the UDA, who were loyal supporters of McMichael, discovered (by means which Dillon did not divulge) that the RUC’s anti-racketeering squad CI3 had videotaped a clandestine meeting between Craig and a member of the IRA’s Northern Command, which is what reportedly sealed Craig’s fate.

See: The Rise & Fall of UDA Brigadier of Bling James Gray – AKA ” Doris Day”

See : 15th Oct deaths in the Troubles

See: Robin `The Jackal’ Jackson – Life & Death

Loyalists Episode1 No Surrender Full Version HQ

Advertisements

11th June – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

11th June

————————————

Sunday 11 June 1972

There was a gun battle between Loyalist and Republican paramilitaries in the Oldpark area of Belfast.

There were shooting incidents in other areas of Belfast and Northern Ireland.

In all, two Catholics, a Protestant, and a British soldier were shot and killed.

Colonel Gaddafi announced that he had supplied arms to “revolutionaries” in Ireland.

Wednesday 11 June 1980

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued a statement that threatened to renew attacks on prison officers.

Thursday 11 June 1981

A general election was held in the Republic of Ireland.

[When counting was completed a minority government was formed between a coalition of Fine Gael (FG) and Labour. On 30 June 1981 Garret FitzGerald replaced Charles Haughey as Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister).

Two H-Block prisoners were elected to the Dáil.]

Saturday 11 June 1983

In the new British cabinet announced by Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister, James Prior, was reappointed as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Wednesday 11 June 1986

Five people, one of whom was Patrick Magee, were found guilty at the ‘Old Bailey’ court in London of conspiring to cause explosions in Britain including the Brighton bomb on 12 October 1984.

[Magee later received eight life sentences.]

Thursday 11 June 1987

General Election

A general election was held across the United Kingdom (UK).

The Conservative Party was returned to power. In Northern Ireland the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) increased their vote and their share of the poll.

The overall Unionist vote fell as did the vote of Sinn Féin (SF).

Enoch Powell, formally an Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Member of Parliament (MP), lost his South Down seat to Eddie McGrady of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).

Friday 11 June 1993

Queen Elizabeth paid a visit to Northern Ireland.

John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), held another meeting with Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF). Amnesty International criticised certain aspects of emergence powers in Northern Ireland.

Tuesday 11 June 1996

The second day of the Stormont talks were again spent in argument over the appointment of George Mitchell as chair and the extent of his “over-arching” role.

The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) agreed to a compromise which reduced the role of George Mitchell but which let talks proceed.

Wednesday 11 June 1997

Robert (‘Basher’) Bates (48)

Robert Basher Bates

a former leading member of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) ‘Shankill Butchers’ gang, was shot dead while opening the Ex-Prisoners Information Centre on Woodvale Road, Belfast.

Initially Republican paramilitaries were blamed for the killing but all the groups denied any involvement, and it later became clear that Loyalist paramilitaries were responsible.

Bates had pleaded guilty in January 1979 to 10 murders.

Most of the victims were Catholics who were abducted, tortured, and killed with butcher knives, hatchets and sometimes guns.

One of Bates’ victims was James Moorehead (30) who at the time was a member of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). It was believed that Bates was killed in retaliation for his part in the murder of Moorehead.

See Robert “Basher” Bates

See Shankill Butchers

See Lenny Murphy

The Queen paid a visit to Northern Ireland and travelled to Dungannon, Belfast, and Hillsborough Castle where a garden reception for 2,000 people was held.

The police and customs officials carried out a series of raids in Britain and Ireland and broke up a drugs gang which had links to the UDA. Police seized £6 million pounds of property, £2 million pounds of illicit alcohol, and £500,000 in cash.

Thursday 11 June 1998

Three shots were fired at a Sinn Féin (SF) election worker in the Markets area of south Belfast.

[Republicans claimed that the attack was carried out by “Group B” a remnant of the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA). Residents reported increased friction in west and south Belfast between supporters of the Provisionals and Officials in recent weeks.]

Friday 11 June 1999

Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, intensified discussions to try to resolve the issues preventing the establishment of an Executive in Northern Ireland.

The Police Authority of Northern Ireland warned that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) did not have sufficient funds to meet the additional costs in policing the violence surrounding the Drumcree dispute.

 

——————————————

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever

– To the Paramilitaries –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

9 People lost their lives on the 11th   June between 1972 – 1997

——————————————

11 June 1972
John Madden  (43)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot outside his shop, Oldpark Road, Belfast.

——————————————

11 June 1972


Joseph Campbell  (16)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army Youth Section (IRAF),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during gun battle, Eskdale Gardens, Ardoyne, Belfast.

——————————————

11 June 1972


Norman McGrath  (18)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot from passing British Army (BA) Armoured Personnel Carrier as he walked along Alloa Street, Lower Oldpark, Belfast.

——————————————

11 June 1972
Peter Raistric  (18)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while in Brooke Park British Army (BA) base, Derry.

——————————————

11 June 1975
Kenneth Conway   (20)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: not known (nk)
Died one day after being shot at the junction of Woodvale Road and Glenvale Street, Shankill, Belfast.

——————————————

11 June 1976
William Palmer   (50)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Republican group (REP)
Died three days after being shot at his home, Milltown Avenue, Derriaghy, near Belfast

——————————————

11 June 1976
Edward Walker  (20)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Association (UDA),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Shot while travelling in stolen car along Doagh Road, Newtownabbey, County Antrim

——————————————

11 June 1982


David Reeves  (24)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by booby trap bomb while searching garage, Carranbane Walk, Shantallow, Derry.

——————————————

11 June 1997

Robert Bates  (48)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF),

Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Shot, at his workplace, Ex-prisoners Interpretative Centre, Woodvale Road, Shankill, Belfast. Ulster Defence Association / Ulster Volunteer Force feud.

See Shankill Butchers

See Lenny Murphy

——————————————

Robert “Basher” Bates 12th Dec 1948 – 11th June 1997. Shankill Butcher

Robert William Bates

” Basher “

Robert William Bates (nicknamed “Basher”) (12 December 1948 – 11 June 1997) was an Ulster loyalist from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He was a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force and the infamous Shankill Butchers gang, led by Lenny Murphy.

Shankill Butchers

Shankill Butchers.

See Shankill Butchers

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed in this post and page are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland.

They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors

 

Bates was born into an Ulster Protestant family and grew up in the Shankill Road area of Belfast. He had a criminal record dating back to 1966,  and later became a member of the Ulster loyalist paramilitary organisation, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

Bates, employed as a barman at the Long Bar, was recruited into the Shankill Butchers gang in 1975 by its notorious ringleader, Lenny Murphy.

The gang used The Brown Bear pub, a Shankill Road drinking haunt frequented by the UVF, as its headquarters. Bates, a “sergeant” in the gang’s hierarchy, was an avid participant in the brutal torture and savage killings perpetrated against innocent Catholics after they were abducted from nationalist streets and driven away in a black taxi owned by fellow Shankill Butcher, William Moore.

William moore.jpg
William Moore

 

 

The killings typically involved grisly-throat slashings preceded by lengthy beatings and torture. Bates was said to have been personally responsible for beating James Moorhead, a member of the Ulster Defence Association, to death on 30 January 1977 and to have played a central role in the kidnapping and murder of Catholic Joseph Morrisey three days later. He also killed Thomas Quinn, a derelict, on 8 February 1976 and the following day was involved in shooting dead Archibald Hanna and Raymond Carlisle, two Protestant workmen that Bates and Murphy mistook for Catholics.

Martin Dillon revealed that Bates was also one of the four UVF gunmen who carried out a mass shooting in the Chlorane Bar attack in Belfast city centre on 5 June 1976. Five people (three Catholics and two Protestants) were shot dead. The UVF unit had burst into the pub in Gresham Street and ordered the Catholics and Protestants to line up on opposite ends of the bar before they opened fire. He later recounted his role in the attack to police; however, he had claimed that he never fired any shots due to his revolver having malfunctioned.

Forensics evidence contradicted him as it proved that his revolver had been fired inside the Chlorane Bar that night. Lenny Murphy was in police custody at the time the shooting attack against the Chlorane Bar took place.

Bates was arrested in 1977, along with Moore and other “Shankill Butcher” accomplices.

Gerard McLaverty and Joseph Morrissey

His arrest followed a sustained attack by Moore and Sam McAllister on Catholic Gerard McLaverty, after which they dumped his body, presuming him dead. However McLaverty survived and identified Moore and McAllister to the Royal Ulster Constabulary who drove him up and down the Shankill Road during a loyalist parade until he saw his attackers. During questioning both men implicated Bates, and other gang members, leading to their arrests.

Following a long period spent on remand, he was convicted in February 1979 of murder related to the Shankill Butcher killings and given ten life sentences, with a recommendation by the trial judge, Mr Justice O’Donnell, that he should never be released.

In prison

At the start of his sentence, Bates was involved in a series of violent incidents involving other inmates. Bates later claimed that he had perpetrated these acts in order to live up to his “Basher” nickname.

He served as company commander of the UVF inmates and became noted as stern disciplinarian.

However while in the Maze Prison, he was said to have “found God”, and as a result became a born-again Christian. He produced a prison testimony, which was later reprinted in The Burning Bush, and, after publicly advocating an end to violence, was transferred to HMP Maghaberry.

Brendan hughes.jpg
Brendan Hughes

 

 

In prison, Bates formed a friendship with Provisional IRA member and fellow detainee Brendan Hughes. Bates foiled a UVF assassination plot on Hughes.

Early release and death

Ex-Prisoners Interpretative Centre, Woodvale Road, where Bates worked after his release and where he was shot

In October 1996, 18 months prior to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, Bates was cleared for early release by the Life Sentence Review Board. He was given the opportunity of participating in a rehabilitation scheme, spending the day on a work placement and returning to prison at night.

As he arrived for work in his native Shankill area of Belfast early on the morning of 11 June 1997,  Bates was shot dead by the son of a UDA man he had killed in 1977.

The killer identified himself to Bates as the son of his victim before opening fire. Bates had been working at the Ex-Prisoners Interpretative Centre (EPIC), a drop-in centre for former loyalist prisoners.

Bates’ killing had not been sanctioned by the UDA leadership but nevertheless they refused to agree to UVF demands that the killer should be handed over to them, instead exiling him from the Shankill. He was rehoused in the Taughmonagh area where he quickly became an important figure in the local UDA as a part of Jackie McDonald‘s South Belfast Brigade.

Bates’ name was subsequently included on the banner of a prominent Orange Lodge on the Shankill Road, called Old Boyne Island Heroes.

Relatives of Shankill butchers victims Cornelius Neeson condemned the banner, stating that:

“it hurts the memory of those the butchers killed”.

A fellow Lodge member and former friend of Bates defended the inclusion of his name to journalist Peter Taylor:

“I knew him very well and he’d been a personal friend for twenty or thirty years and to me he was a gentleman”.

He went on to describe him as having been:

“an easy-going, decent fellow, and as far as the Lodge is concerned, a man of good-standing”.

He was a buried in a Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster ceremony by Reverend Alan Smylie.

Bates’ funeral was attended by a large representation from local Orange Lodges.

Mairead Maguire, July 2009

Mairead Maguire was also amongst the mourners, arguing that Bates had “repented, asked for forgiveness and showed great remorse for what he had done”, whilst a memorial service held at the spot of his killing two days after the funeral was attended by Father Gerry Reynolds of Clonard Monastery

See Shankill Butchers

Shankill Butchers.

See Shankill Butchers

lennie murphy

See Lenny Murphy

——————————————–

Wednesday 11 June 1997

 

From killer to victim: Basher’s death sums up the futility of the Troubles

Robert “Basher” Bates, who was gunned down in Belfast yesterday, was an icon. To some he represented the very worst that the troubles has produced: to others he was testimony that even the most brutal terrorist might not be beyond redemption.

Two decades ago the 10 murders he was involved in were among the most barbaric ever seen. He shot some of his victims but others he killed in the most cruel fashion, he and his associates wielded butcher’s knives, axes and cleavers on random Catholic victims. The Shankill Butchers slaughtered human beings as one would animals.

The horror of those killings took Belfast to a new low. Yesterday his death conjured up the most appalling vista of all: that the IRA was intent on regenerating the troubles. The relief was palpable when it emerged that he had been killed not by the IRA but by a loyalist, in what is thought to have been personal revenge for the murder by Bates of a close relative, 20 years ago in a bar room brawl.

Basher Bates was one of hundreds of convicted killers released after serving an average of 15 years behind bars. There are hundreds of unsettled personal grudges in Northern Ireland: quite a few people know, or think they know, who killed their fathers or other loved ones. Yet this seems to have been the first personal revenge killing of a released prisoner.

While loyalist groups have accounted for close on 1,000 of the 3,500 victims of the Troubles, the ferocity and awfulness of the Shankill Butchers’ killings have remained in the public memory for two full decades.

A book dwelling on the graphic details has been a local bestseller for 20 years, and can still be picked up in many of the garage shops of Belfast. It was, for example, the favourite reading of Thomas Begley, the young IRA man who four years ago carried a bomb into a Shankill Road fish shop, killing himself and nine Protestants.

Bates was not the prime mover in the Shankill Butchers gang: that was UVF man Lennie Murphy, who was shot dead by the IRA in 1982. But he was one of the leading lights during their two-year reign of terror, and one photograph of him, looking like an unshaven, unkempt dullard, has remained lodged in the communal memory as a vision of a psychopathic killer.

The judge who gave him 16 life sentences for his killings told him, correctly, that his actions “will remain forever a lasting monument to blind sectarian bigotry.” When he told him he should remain behind bars for the rest of his natural life, society shuddered and hoped it had heard the last of Basher Bates.

But Northern Ireland has a scheme, not found in the rest of the UK, for the release of even the most notorious killers, and more than 300 loyalists and republicans have been quietly freed over the last decade. Many of these former lifers engross themselves, as Bates seemed to be doing, in community or welfare work.

As the years passed in jail, Bates was at first a difficult prisoner, then a troubled soul and finally a remorseful born-again Christian, praying fervently for forgiveness. One who knew him in prison said of him: “He’s now a shell of a man, very quiet and inoffensive in a bland kind of way. The hair has gone, he’s prematurely bald. He has found the Lord and he’s no threat to anyone.”

Basher Bates made a long and painful journey from merciless assassin to man of God. His personal odyssey seemed to be over: neither he nor anyone else could have foreseen the fateful circularity which in the end transformed him from killer to victim.

Please consider making a small or large donation as I am very poor and every donation is most welcome and goes towards the cost of running this blog.

Make a small donation

paypal donation button

Thank you!

23rd February – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

23rd February

Saturday 23 February 1974

In the Shankill Road area of Belfast taxi drivers hijacked buses and sealed off roads in a protest against alleged army harassment.

Monday 23 February 1976

Francis Rice

 

 

Francis Rice (24), a Catholic civilian, was abducted, beaten and had his throat and his body was found near Mayo Street, Shankill, Belfast.

Members of he Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gang known as the ‘Shankill Butchers’ were responsible for the killing. [See: 20 February 1979]

See Shankill Butchers

Tuesday 23 Februay 1982

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) sunk a British coal boat, the St Bedan, in Lough Foyle.

Wednesday 23 February 1983

The Political Committee of the European Parliament took the decision to commission a report on Northern Ireland to see if the (then) European Economic Community (EEC) could help find a solution to the conflict. The Rapporteur was Mr N.J. Haagerup.

The British government opposed what it saw as external interference in its internal affairs.

Saturday 23 February 1985

David Devine                        Michael Devine,                           Charles Breslin,

 

Three members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) were shot dead by undercover British soldiers in the outskirts of Strabane, County Tyrone.

David Devine

 

The IRA men were believed to be returning weapons to an arms dump when they were killed. A man alleged to be an informer was shot dead by the IRA in Derry.

[John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), walked out of a meeting with representatives of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) when it was suggested by the IRA that part of the proceedings be recorded on video. Information on what had occurred only became available some time afer the meeting.]

Monday 23 February 1987

Belfast City Council became the latest in a line of Northern Ireland councils to be fined for failing to conduct normal business. Many Unionist controlled councils had been refusing to conduct council business as part of a protest against the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). The Department of the Environment appointed a commissioner to set a rate in those councils which have refused to do so.

Tuesday 23 February 1988

Ian Thain, a Private in the British Army and the first solder to be convicted of murder (14 December 1984) while on duty in Northern Ireland, was released from a life sentence. He had served 26 months and was allowed to rejoin his regiment.

Thursday 23 February 1989

Hugh Annesley, then Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, was appointed by the Northern Ireland Police Authority (NIPA) as the next Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

[Hugh Annesley took over the post on 31 May 1989.]

Monday 23 February 1998

A Republican paramilitary group exploded a large car bomb, estimated at 300 pounds, in the centre of Portadown, County Armagh. Many business premises in the centre of the town were severely damaged by the explosion and two buildings were completely demolished by the blast. There were no injuries in the explosion.

[It was thought that the bomb had been planted by the ‘Continuity’ Irish Republican Army (CIRA).]

Tuesday 23 February 1999

Stephen Melrose

Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), was confronted by the family of a victim of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) as he continued his eight-day visit to Australia. Roy Melrose, the father of Stephen Melrose, a Brisbane lawyer who was mistaken by gunmen for an off-duty British soldier in the Netherlands on 27 May 1990, criticised the way Adams was being feted at a civic champagne reception.

 

Friday 23 February 2001

An advertising campaign was launched to try to attract a large number of recruits to the new Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). The target was to attract equal numbers of Protestants and Catholics. Nationalists and Republicans argued that they had not yet endorsed the new force which is due to replace the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). Sinn Féin (SF) had attempted in court to stop the adverts.

Saturday 23 February 2002

Police arrested three people in north Belfast following sporadic rioting around the Limestone road. The three are being held charged with riotous behaviour.

A police spokesperson said one officer had to draw his firearm as a crowd wielding iron bars and sticks tried to prevent an arrest of a man in the Newington Street area.

Gerard Brophy, then a Sinn Féin (SF) councillor, said the trouble started when a crowd of up to 60 loyalists armed with bricks, bottles and baseball bats, attacked Nationalist homes. He said the attack was clearly orchestrated and the crowd included members of the neo-Nazi group Combat 18.

These claims were disputed by Loyalist residents.

Twenty children from the Holy Cross Girls’ Primary School in Ardoyne, north Belfast, met Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), during a short visit to Dublin. Ahern said the trip would show support for the children from the people of the Republic.

——————————————————————

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live  forever

– To  the Paramilitaries  –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

7 People   lost their lives on the 23rd February between 1976– 1985

  —————————————————————————

23 February 1976


Francis Rice,  (24)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Abducted while walking along Donegall Street, Belfast. Found stabbed to death several hours later, in entry, off Mayo Street, Shankill, Belfast.

  —————————————————————————

23 February 1977


Peter Hill,  (43)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR)

 Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot outside his home, Daphne Gardens, off Limavady Road, Waterside, Derry.

  —————————————————————————

23 February 1981

James Burns   (33)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot at his home, Rodney Drive, Falls, Belfast.

  —————————————————————————

23 February 1985


Michael Devine,  (22)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by undercover British Army (BA) members, while returning arms to dump, in field, off Plumbridge Road, Strabane, County Tyrone.

  —————————————————————————

23 February 1985


David Devine  (17)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by undercover British Army (BA) members, while returning arms to dump, in field, off Plumbridge Road, Strabane, County Tyrone.

  —————————————————————————

23 February 1985


Charles Breslin,   (20)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by undercover British Army (BA) members, while returning arms to dump, in field, off Plumbridge Road, Strabane, County Tyrone.

  —————————————————————————

23 February 1985


Kevin Coyle,  (24)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Found shot Corporation Street, Bogside, Derry. Alleged informer.

  —————————————————————————

20th February – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

20th February

———————————————–

Tuesday 20 February 1973

Cupar Street

 

Two members of the British Army were shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in an attack in Cupar Street, Belfast.

Thursday 20 February 1975

A feud began between the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) on one side and the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) and the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) on the other.

Hugh Ferguson (19), then chairman of Whiterock IRSP, was shot dead at his place of work in Ballymurphy, Belfast

. It was believed that the OIRA were responsible for this killing.

[There were further incidents on: 25 February 1975, 6 April 1975, 12 April 1975, 28 April 1975, and 5 June 1975, before this particular feud ended.]

A Catholic civilian was shot dead by Loyalists in Belfast.

[Public Records 1975 – Released 1 January 2006: Telegram sent by James Callaghan, then British Foreign Secretary, to the British Ambassador in Dublin.

The telegram contains notes about matters related to Northern Ireland that Callaghan wanted the Ambassador to raise with Liam Cosgrave, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister).]

 

Tuesday 20 February 1979

‘Shankill Butchers’ Sentenced

Shankill Butchers.

A group of 11 Loyalists known as the ‘Shankill butchers’ were sentenced to life imprisonment for 112 offences including 19 murders. The 11 men were given 42 life sentences and received 2,000 years imprisonment, in total, in the form of concurrent sentences.

Lenny Murphy

 

 

[The Shankill Butchers had begun killing Catholics in July 1972 and were not arrested until May 1977. The Loyalist gang operated out of a number of Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) drinking dens in the Shankill Road area of Belfast.

The gang was initially led by Lenny Murphy but it continued to operate following his imprisonment in 1976. The Shankill Butchers got their name because not only did they kill Catholics but they first abducted many of their victims, tortured them, mutilated them with butcher knives and axes, and then finally killed them.]

See Shankill Butchers

See Lenny Murphy

Friday 20 February 1981

 1981 Hunger Strike.

Saturday 20 February 1982

Patrick Reynolds (24), then an Officer in the Garda Síochána (the Irish police), was shot dead by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) when he went to a house in Avonbeg Gardens, Tallaght, Dublin.

Wednesday 20 February 1985

Margaret Thatcher, the then British Prime Minister, travelled to the United States of America (USA) and addressed the US Congress. In her speech she called on Americans not to give money to organisations, such as NORAID (Irish Northern Aid Committee), that were believed to support Republican paramilitaries in Northern Ireland.

Monday 20 February 1989

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded three bombs in British Army barracks at Tern Hill, Shropshire, England.

Tuesday 20 February 1990

John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, met to discuss the possibility of political talks.

Sunday 20 February 1994

John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), called on the British government to provide Sinn Féin (SF) with clarification of the Downing Street Declaration (DSD). Dick Spring, then Tánaiste, said that he believed clarification had already been provided.

Monday 20 February 1995

There were clashes between Republicans and Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers at the Sinn Féin (SF) offices in Derry. Seven SF members were arrested.

James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), held a meeting at Westminster, London.

Tuesday 20 February 1996

John Major, then British Prime Minister, held talks with David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), in Downing Street, London. Dick Spring, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs), accepted the offer of talks (issued on 18 February 1996) with David Trimble.

Thursday 20 February 1997

There was a report in the Irish News that a Catholic woman who worked at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) had received damages for sectarian harassment by an aide of Baroness Denton.

It was revealed that the Catholic woman had been moved from her post while the aide responsible for the harassment had been allowed to remain in her post as Denton’s Private Secretary. This was in clear breach of Fair Employment guidelines on such circumstances.

In an article in the Irish News John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), said that if the Irish Republican Army (IRA) were not prepared to call a new ceasefire then he would “look elsewhere” for political progress.

The parades committee of the Northern Ireland Forum turned down a request by the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition to make a submission on the issue of parades and marches in its area. The reason given was that the deadline for submissions had passed.

The ‘Bloody Sunday’ Justice Campaign met with the leaders of the Republic of Ireland government as well the leader of Fianna Fáil (FF).

Edward Heath, former British Prime Minister, was criticised by Nationalists for comments he made about the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and his part in the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. Speaking on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) programme Newsnight Heath said that “we can criticise it [the massacre] in exactly the same way as people criticise ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Northern Ireland, but that isn’t, by any means, the whole story.”

Friday 20 February 1998

Sinn Féin Expelled from Talks

The Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) exploded a large car bomb, estimated at 500 pounds, outside the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) station in the centre of Moria, County Down. The bomb caused extensive damage to a number of commercial and private premises in the centre of the village.

Eleven people, mostly RUC officers, received slight injuries in the explosion.

Sinn Féin (SF) were formally expelled from the multi-party talks by the British and Irish governments because of allegations of Irish Republican Army (IRA) involvement in two killings in Belfast on 9 and 10 February 1998. The deadline for the return of SF was set as 9 March 1998.

The British and Irish governments issued a statement setting out the reasons why they had taken the decision to exclude Sinn Féin (SF) from the talks. Gerry Adams, then President of SF, described the expulsion as “disgraceful”. Unionists reacted angrily to the 17 day exclusion considering it too short.

[SF organised a number of street protests over the next few days to highlight its opposition to the decision. SF rejoined the talks on 23 March 1998.]

Wednesday 20 February 2002

There was traffic disruption when an explosive device (pipe-bomb) was found on the Glenshane Road, County Derry. The device had been left by Loyalist paramilitaries.

[This was one of a series of attacks over a four-day period. On Saturday 22 February 2002 the Assistant Chief Constable said he believed the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) was responsible for the attacks.]

Four men arrested on Sunday 17 February 2002 appeared at East Tyrone Magistrate’s Court in Cookstown on charges of conspiracy to murder members of the security forces and also possession of a grenade launcher and warhead.

About 50 people, mainly friends and relations of the four men, were involved in scuffles with the police when the men were brought to the court. The men all denied the charges. The men were remanded in custody until 19 March 2002.

CHANNEL 4 PICTURE PUBLICITY124 Horseferry Road London SW1P 2TX 020 7306 8685 OMAGH Omagh Bomb Tx: This picture may be used solely for Channel 4 programme publicity purposes in connection with the current broadcast of the programme(s) featured in the national and local press and listings. Not to be reproduced or redistributed for any use or in any medium not set out above (including the internet or other electronic form) without the prior written consent of Channel 4 Picture Publicity 020 7306 8685
Scene of the Omagh Bomb

 

 

Groups representing those killed in the Omagh bomb (15 August 1998) met in London to launch a fund-raising campaign to obtain the £2 million required to bring a civil action against those believed to be responsible for the bomb attack.

The meeting was attended by Bob Geldof, musician and Live Aid founder, Barry McGuigan, a former world boxing champion, and Peter Mandelson, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

[The appeal was launched in August 2000 and had raised £800,000. The deadline for raising the funding is August 2002.]

Relatives of those killed in the Omagh bomb wrote a letter to Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), asking for “an independent senior investigation officer” to lead the police investigation. Flanagan later stated that he had no intention of removing the current investigating officer.

See Omagh Bomb

 

———————————————————————

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live  forever

– To  the Paramilitaries  –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

7 People   lost their lives on the 20th  February between 1973– 1989

  —————————————————————————

20 February 1973
Malcolm Shaw,   (23)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by snipers while on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Cupar Street, Lower Falls, Belfast.

  —————————————————————————

20 February 1973
Robert Pearson,   (19)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by snipers while on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Cupar Street, Lower Falls, Belfast.

  —————————————————————————

20 February 1975
Gerard McKeown,   (20)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Killed in bomb attack on Railway Bar, Shore Road, Greencastle, Belfast

  —————————————————————————

20 February 1975


Hugh Ferguson   (19)

Catholic
Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA),

Killed by: Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA)
Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) member. Shot at his workplace, building site, Whiterock Drive, Ballymurphy, Belfast. Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) / Irish National Liberation (INLA) Army feud.

  —————————————————————————

20 February 1982
Patrick Reynolds,   (24)

nfNIRI
Status: Garda Siochana (GS),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Shot when called to house, Avonbeg Gardens, Tallaght, Dublin.

  —————————————————————————

20 February 1983


 Edward Magill,  (20)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot from passing car while standing outside Warrenpoint Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base, County Down.

  —————————————————————————

20 February 1989


Patrick Feeny,   (32)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Security man. Shot at his workplace, Liddle’s factory, Donaghcloney, near Dromore, County Down.

  —————————————————————————

7th February – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

7th February

Wednesday 7 February 1973

United Loyalist Council Strike

The United Loyalist Council (ULC), led by William Craig, the then leader of Ulster Vanguard, organised a one-day general strike. The ULC was an umbrella group which co-ordinated the activities of the Loyalist Association of Workers (LAW), the Ulster Defence Association (UDA; the largest of the Loyalist paramilitary groups), and a number of other Loyalist paramilitary groups.

The aim of the strike was to “re-establish some kind of Protestant or loyalist control over the affairs in the province, especially over security policy” (Anderson, 1994, p4). Many areas of Northern Ireland were affected by power cuts and public transport was also badly affected. These in turn had the affect of closing many businesses, shops and schools. Loyalists paramilitary groups used ‘persuasion’ or intimidation to force many people from going to work and also to close any premises which had opened.

A number of Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) stations were attacked by crowds of Loyalists. There were also many violent incidents throughout the day with the worst of them centred around Belfast. Four people were killed in separate shooting incidents in Belfast. Three of these were members of Loyalist paramilitary groups of whom two were killed by members of the British Army.

There had been eight explosions and 35 cases of arson. The strike was not very well supported by the Protestant population of Northern Ireland. Many Unionists were upset by the level of violence that accompanied the strike.

Thursday 7 February 1974

Edward Heath, then British Prime Minister, calls a general election for 28 February 1974. Francis Pym, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, tried to argue for a later election date because of his worry that the Executive would not survive the outcome.

Saturday 7 February 1976

Four civilians died in three separate attacks.

Thomas Quinn (55), a Catholic civilian, was beaten and had his throat cut. His body was found at Forthriver Way, Glencairn, Belfast. Members of he Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gang known as the ‘Shankill Butchers’ were responsible for the killing.

Lenny Murphy – Leader of the Shankill Butchers

 

 

See Shankill Butchers

 Two Protestant civilians, Rachel McLernon (21) and Robert McLernon (16), were killed by an Irish Republican Army (IRA) booby-trap bomb in Cookstown, County Tyrone. Thomas Rafferty (14), a Catholic civilian, was killed by a booby-trap bomb planted by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) in Portadown, County Armagh.

Tuesday 7 February 1978

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) was reported in the Irish Times as stating that it is “the British dimension which is the obstacle keeping us away from a lasting solution”.

Sunday 7 February 1982

Martin Kyles (19), a Catholic civilian, died two days after being shot by British Soldiers as he travelled (‘joy riding’) in a stolen car in the grounds of the Royal Victoria Hospital, Falls Road, Belfast.

Friday 7 February 1986

The High Court in Belfast ordered that Belfast City Council should end the on-going adjournment of council business in protest to the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). The court also instructed the council to remove the large ‘Belfast Says No’ banner from the front of the City Hall. The court action had been brought by the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI).

Saturday 7 February 1987

Incendiary devices planted in County Donegal and in Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland, were believed to be the responsibility of the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF).

Thursday 7 February 1991

Mortar Attack on Downing Street

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) launched an attack on 10 Downing Street, London, while the British Cabinet was holding a meeting. There were no injuries. The attack took the form of three home-made mortars fired from a parked van in nearby Whitehall and represented a serious breach of security in the area. One of the mortars fell in a garden at the back of Downing street and caused some damage.

[It was reported later that ministers dived under the cabinet table during the attack.]

See IRA Mortar Attack on Downing Street

The Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) announced that scientific evidence against the ‘Birmingham Six’ had been dropped. The announcement came during proceedings at their renewed appeal. In a ruling by the House of Lords the broadcasting ban on ‘proscribed’ organisations was upheld.

Monday 7 February 1994

Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of Sate, paid a visit to Derry and stated that inter-party talks were on target.

Tuesday 7 February 1995

A bomb comprised of commercial explosives was defused in Newry, County Down.

[The Irish Republican Army (IRA) later denied that it was responsible for planting the bomb.]

Garda Síochána (the Irish police) uncovered 8,000 rounds of ammunition at Oldcastle, County Meath.

[Two mortar tubes and additional ammunition were discovered on 8 February 1995.]

There was a further meeting between representatives from Sinn Féin (SF) and Northern Ireland Office (NIO) officials. The British officials indicated that if progress continued to be made in the talks then ministers would also take part.

John Bruton, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), proposed to the Daíl in Dublin that the state of emergency (declared in the Republic in 1939 and renewed in 1976) should be lifted. The proposal was accepted. Dick Spring, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs), called on the British government to limit or repeal its emergency legislation.

Wednesday 7 February 1996

Dick Spring, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs), and Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, held a meeting in Dublin. Dick Spring proposed the establishment of ‘proximity’ style talks similar to those adopted at the Dayton, Ohio Negotiations in the United States of America (USA) between warring groups from Bosnia. The idea was rejected by unionist politicians.

Wednesday 7 February 2001

There was a pipe-bomb attack on the home of a Catholic family in the mainly Protestant Fountain estate in Derry. A couple and their children escaped injury when a device was left at their home in the early hours of the morning. The device partially exploded causing minor damage to an outer wall about 1.00am. The couple raised the alarm after discovering the six-inch device under a car.

The attack was carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.

There were pipe-bomb attacks on Catholic homes in Limavady. One device exploded in the front garden of a house at Eventide Gardens, the other at a house on Edenmore Park. Patrick Vincent, whose home was targeted, said he did not know why his family had been singled out. The pipe-bomb exploded outside a bedroom of the house where he lives with his pregnant girlfriend.

The attacks were carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.

A Loyalist, whose family escaped injury in a pipe-bomb attack on their home in Lurgan, County Armagh, claims the police knew it was going to happen. The family were at home when the bomb exploded at 12.40am. It caused scorch damage to the front door and also damaged the front of a neighbour’s house.

The man blamed the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) for the attack and for two previous attempts on his life

Thursday 7 February 2002

The full Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) met for the second time in three days to continue discussions on the investigation of the Omagh bomb (15 August 1998). The NIPB had met with Nuala O’Loan, then Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI), and Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), on Tuesday 5 February 2002.

The NIPB decided to appoint a senior police officer from England to oversee the investigation. It was planned that this new officer would have equal status to the current senior investigating officer.

[This was seen as a compromise between the recommendation of O’Loan and the position adopted by Flanaghan.]

The Saville Inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday granted permission to police officer to give their evidence from behind screens.

[Many of the 20 former and serving officers had applied to be screened from the public gallery. It was also believed that 2 officers would ask to given their evidence in Britain.]

See Bloody Sunday

The Prince of Wales travelled to Northern Ireland for a series of engagements during a two day visit.

 

————————————————————————

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following  people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live  forever

– To  the Paramilitaries  –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

11  People   lost their lives on the 7th February  between  1971 – 1987

  —————————————————————————

07 February 1971


Albert Bell,  (25)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: not known (nk)
Found shot by the side of the Belfast to Crumlin Road, Ballyhill, near Belfast, County Antrim.

  —————————————————————————

07 February 1973


Brian Douglas,  (26)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Fireman, shot fighting blaze during street disturbances, Bradbury Place, Belfast.

  —————————————————————————

07 February 1973
Andrew Petherbridge, (18)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Association (UDA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during street disturbances, at the junction of Newtownards Road and Newcastle Street, Belfast.

  —————————————————————————

07 February 1973
Robert Bennett,  (31)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during street disturbances, Albertbridge Road, Belfast.

  —————————————————————————

07 February 1973
Clarke Clarke,  (18)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Association (UDA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Found shot in entry, off Hallidays Road, New Lodge, Belfast.

  —————————————————————————

07 February 1976


Robert McLernon,  (16)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by booby trap bomb hidden in abandoned crashed car, Tyresson Road, Cookstown, County Tyrone.

  —————————————————————————

07 February 1976


Rachel McLernon,  (21)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by booby trap bomb hidden in abandoned crashed car, Tyresson Road, Cookstown, County Tyrone.

  —————————————————————————

07 February 1976


Thomas Rafferty, (14)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Killed by booby trap bomb concealed behind row of derelict cottages, Derryall Road, Portadown, County Armagh.

  —————————————————————————

07 February 1978


John Eaglesham,   (58)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot while delivering mail, The Rock, near Pomeroy, County Tyrone.

  —————————————————————————

07 February 1982
Martin Kyles,  (19)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Died two days after being shot while travelling in stolen car, in the grounds of the Royal Victoria Hospital, Falls Road, Belfast

  —————————————————————————

07 February 1987


Iris Farley,  (72)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Died five weeks after being shot during gun attack on her off duty Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) member son, at their home, Markethill, County Armagh.

—————————————————————————

20th January – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

20th January

————————————

Wednesday 20 January 1971

It was announced that an independent commissioner would decide on the boundaries of the new district council areas.

Saturday 20 January 1973

A car bomb exploded in Sackville Place, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, and killed one person and injured 17 others. The person killed was Thomas Douglas (25). The car used in the bombing had been hijacked at Agnes Street, Belfast.

[No organisation claimed responsibility but the bomb was believed to have been planted by one of the Loyalist paramilitary organisations.]

Monday 20 January 1975

[Public Records 1975 – Released 1 January 2006:

Telegram containing a note of a meeting between Galsworth, then of the British Embassy in Dublin, and Liam Cosgrave, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). The telegram mentions the concerns of Cosgrave about the likely impact on public opinion if it became known that the British government was negotiating with the Irish Republican Army (IRA).]

[Public Records 1975 – Released 1 January 2006: Letter from Joel Barnett, then Chief Secretary to the Treasury, to Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, about the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.]

Tuesday 20 February 1979

lennie murphy
Leader of the Shankill Butchers Lenny Murphy

 

‘Shankill Butchers’ Sentenced A group of 11 Loyalists known as the ‘Shankill butchers’ were sentenced to life imprisonment for 112 offences including 19 murders. The 11 men were given 42 life sentences and received 2,000 years imprisonment, in total, in the form of concurrent sentences.

[The Shankill Butchers had begun killing Catholics in July 1972 and were not arrested until May 1977. The Loyalist gang operated out of a number of Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) drinking dens in the Shankill Road area of Belfast. The gang was initially led by Lenny Murphy but it continued to operate following his imprisonment in 1976. The Shankill Butchers got their name because not only did they kill Catholics but they first abducted many of their victims, tortured them, mutilated them with butcher knives and axes, and then finally killed them.]

See Shankill Butchers

See Lenny Murphy

Tuesday 20 January 1981

Maurice Gilvarry (24), a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), was found shot dead near Jonesborough, County Armagh. He had been killed by other members of the IRA who alleged that he had acted as an informer.

A British soldier was shot dead by the IRA in Derry.

Sunday 20 January 1985

Douglas Hurd, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, was interviewed on Radio Telefis Éireann (RTE) during which he said that political arrangements could be created to improve Anglo-Irish relationships.

Tuesday 20 January 1987

Thomas Power

 

John O’Reilly

 

When two Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) members were shot dead by members of the Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO) in Drogheda, County Louth, Republic of Ireland, a feud began between the two organisations.

[The feud continued until 26 March 1987 with a final death toll of 11.]

The coalition government in the Republic of Ireland, led by Garret FitzGerald, ended after the Labour Party withdrew its support. John Taylor, then Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Northern Ireland, left the European Democratic Group to join the European Right Group.

The case of the ‘Birmingham Six’ was referred to the Court of Appeal by Douglas Hurd, then British Home Secretary.

Wednesday 20 January 1988

The British government opposed the classification of Northern Ireland as one of Europe’s poorest regions thus reducing the amount of regional structural funds that it received.

Saturday 20 January 1990

Brian_Nelson_Loyalist

Brian Nelson appeared in court on charges relating to the Stevens Inquiry.

See Brian Nelson

[On 28 January 1990 the ‘Sunday Tribune’ (a newspaper published in the Republic of Ireland) alleged that Nelson had worked for British Army intelligence for a number of years.]

Monday 20 January 1992

John Major, then British Prime Minister, travelled to Northern Ireland and held meetings with senior members of the security services

Thursday 20 January 1994

The private secretary to John Major, then British Prime Minister, replied to a letter from Gerry Adams, then President of SF, to state that there “can be no question of renegotiation” of the Downing Street Declaration (DSD).

Monday 20 January 1997

A Catholic family escaped injury when a bomb exploded under their van in Larne.

[No group claimed responsibility but the incident was believed to be the work of the Loyalist Volunteer Force; LVF. ]

There was an attack on the Mountpottinger Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) station in Short Strand, Belfast. Two ‘coffee jar bombs’ were thrown at the station but there were no injuries. [The attack was believed to have been carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) (?).]

Tuesday 20 January 1998

Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), accused the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) / Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) of “actively” collaborating with the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) in some of the recent killings of Catholics. However, Adams said that the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), the political representatives of the UDA / UFF, should not be expelled from the multi-party Stormont talks.

Wednesday 20 January 1999

Kenny McClinton, then acting as Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) representative to the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD), said that the LVF was considering a second round of decommissioning.

[To date this second act of decommissioning had not taken place.]

Patrick Harty, a farmer from Toomevara, County Tipperary, refused to give evidence as a prosecution witness in the trial of the four men accused of the killing of Jerry McCabe, who was a Detective in the Garda Síochána (the Irish police). Harty said he could not give a reason for his refusal to give evidence and was jailed for 18 months.

Sunday 20 January 2002

There were disturbances in the Serpentine Gardens and White City areas of north Belfast. Catholic homes in the Serpentine Gardens area were petrol-bombed between midnight and approximately 1.30am (0130GMT). The devices were thrown from the Loyalist White City area.

In follow-up searches in White City the police found a crate of petrol-bombs – some with fireworks inside. At approximately 4.30am (0430GMT) the home of a Protestant family in White City was attacked with petrol-bombs. There was scorch damage to the house but no injuries. The petrol-bombs were thrown from the Nationalist Serpentine Gardens. The family of six said they would leave the area.

Shore Road Riots

There was also rioting in the nearby Shore Road and the Whitewell Road areas of north Belfast. Nationalists threw a petrol-bomb into a Protestant house on the Whitewell Road. The house was empty at the time and there were no injuries. There were then further disturbances involving Loyalists and Nationalists. Nationalists crowds throwing petrol-bombs, stones, and blast-bombs attacked police and fire officers who were dealing with burning barricades.

 

Nigel Dodds (DUP), then Member of Parliament (MP) for north Belfast, held a meeting with Alan McQuillan, then Assistant Chief Constable, to ask for 24-hour police patrols.

Independent Television (ITV) in the United Kingdom (UK) broadcast a film entitled ‘Bloody Sunday‘ that portrayed the events in Derry on 30 January 1972.

[Prior to broadcast the film had been criticised by some Unionists in Northern Ireland and by some members of the Conservative party in Britain. The film was also given a limited cinema release.]

 

—————————————————————————

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following  people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live  forever

– To  the Paramilitaries  –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

 10 People   lost their lives on the 20th January  between  1973 – 1987

————————————————————

20 January 1973
Thomas Douglas  (21)

nfNIRI
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Orginally from Scotland. Killed when car bomb exploded, Sackville Place, off O’Connell Street, Dublin.

————————————————————

20 January 1974
Desmond Mullan,   (33)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot while walking along Maple Gardens, Carrickfergus, County Antrim.

————————————————————

20 January 1974


Cormac McCabe,   (42)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Found shot in field, Altadaven, near Clogher, County Tyrone.

————————————————————

20 January 1975


Kevin Coen,   (28)

nfNI
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
From County Sligo. Shot during attempted hijacking of bus, Kinawley, County Fermanagh.

————————————————————

20 January 1981
 Christopher Shenton,   (21)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while in British Army (BA) observation post overlooking Bogside, City Walls, Derry

————————————————————

20 January 1981


Maurice Gilvarry,  (24)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Found shot near Jonesborough, County Armagh. Alleged informer

————————————————————

20 January 1983


Frank McColgan,  (31)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Shot during car chase, shortly after being involved in robbery, Black’s Road, Dunmurry, near Belfast, County Antrim.

————————————————————

20 January 1984
Colin Houston,  (30)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Shot at his home, Sunnymede Avenue, Dunmurry, near Belfast, County Antrim

————————————————————

20 January 1987


Thomas Power,  (34)

Catholic
Status: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA),

Killed by: Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO)
Shot while in Rossnaree Hotel, Drogheda, County Louth. Irish National Liberation Army / Irish People’s Liberation Organisation feud.

————————————————————

20 January 1987


John O’Reilly,   (26)

Catholic
Status: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA),

Killed by: Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO)
Shot while in Rossnaree Hotel, Drogheda, County Louth. Irish National Liberation Army / Irish People’s Liberation Organisation feud.

————————————————————

Lenny Murphy – Leader of The Shankill Butchers – Life & Death

Lenny Murphy

2 March 1952 – 16 November 1982

Leader  of The Shankill Butchers

Life & Death

Over a 10-year-year period, from 1972 to 1982, the Shankill Butchers gang, led by psychopath Lenny Murphy, terrorized Northern Ireland Catholics, becoming the most prolific group of serial killers in British history.

See Shankill Butchers

Hugh Leonard Thompson Murphy, who commonly went by the name Lenny (or Lennie) (2 March 1952 – 16 November 1982), was an Ulster loyalist from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Murphy was a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and leader of the infamous Shankill Butchers gang which became notorious for its torture and murder of Roman Catholic men. Although never convicted of murder, Murphy is thought to have been responsible for many deaths.[1] Murphy spent long periods in custody from late 1972 to July 1982, being free for a total of only thirteen months during that time. He was shot dead by the Provisional IRA in November 1982.

A Protestant, Murphy had a fanatical hatred of Roman Catholics. In his book The Shankill Butchers, Belfast journalist Martin Dillon suggests that Murphy’s visceral loathing of Catholics may have stemmed from his own family being suspected of having recent Catholic ancestry, because of his traditionally Irish surname which is more often associated with the other side of the religious divide in Northern Ireland.[2] After his death, his mother commented: “I don’t honestly believe he was a bad man”; however, an unnamed loyalist from the rival Ulster Defence Association described Murphy as a “typical psychopath”.

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed in this post and page are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland.

They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors

Lenny Murphy
Lenny murphy.jpg

Lenny Murphy in 1982
Born Hugh Leonard Thompson Murphy
2 March 1952
Shankill Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Died 16 November 1982 (aged 30)
Glencairn, upper Shankill Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Cause of death Over 20 fatal gunshot wounds
Nationality British
Other names Lenny or Lennie
Known for Leader of Shankill Butchers
Ulster Volunteer Force member
Religion Protestantism

Early life

Murphy was the youngest of three sons of Joyce and William Murphy from the loyalist Shankill Road, Belfast. William was originally from Fleet Street, Sailortown in the Belfast docks area. This was where he had met Joyce Thompson, who came from the Shankill. Like his own father (also named William), he worked as a dock labourer.[4]

The Murphy family changed their residence several times; in 1957 they returned to Joyce’s family home in the lower Shankill, at 28 Percy Street. Murphy’s father was reclusive which led to a rumour that he was not the same man and that Joyce was now living with a different ‘William Murphy’, one who was a Catholic. Lenny Murphy did not use his given first name because Hugh was perceived as Catholic-sounding, especially when coupled with the surname Murphy. Prior to the erection of a peace wall in the 1970s, Percy Street ran from the lower Shankill area to the Falls Road. A hoodlum at school (Argyle Primary), where he was known for the use of a knife and had his elder brothers to back him up, Murphy logged his first conviction at the age of twelve for theft. After leaving the Belfast Boys’ Model School at sixteen, he joined the Ulster Volunteer Force and was involved in the rioting that broke out in Belfast in August 1969.

His character was marked by a pathological hatred of Catholics which he brought into all of his conversations, often referring to them as “scum and animals”.[5] He held a steady job as a shop assistant, although his increasing criminal activities enabled him to indulge in a more high profile and flamboyant lifestyle which involved socialising with an array of young women and heavy drinking.[6]

Dillon wrote that it is “incredible to think that Murphy was in fact a murderer at the age of twenty” (1972). There were many people at the time who would have found it hard to believe as physically he did not differ from most young men of his age. Below average height, of slim build and sallow complexion, Murphy was blue eyed and had curly dark brown hair. He sported several tattoos; most of them bearing Ulster loyalist images.[7] He was a flashy dresser, too, often wearing a leather jacket and scarf, and occasionally a pair of leather driving-gloves, such that it reminded one contact of the time of a World War I fighter-pilot.[8]

First Crimes

The Lawnbrook Social Club in Shankill Road‘s Centurion Street, one of Murphy’s drinking haunts. It has since been demolished

According to Dillon, Murphy was involved in the torture and murder of four Catholic men as early as 1972. On 28 September of that year, a Protestant man named William Edward Pavis who had gone bird shooting with a Catholic priest, was killed at his home in East Belfast. Pavis had been threatened by loyalists who accused him of selling firearms to the IRA. Murphy was arrested for this crime along with an accomplice, Mervyn Connor.[9]

During pre-trial investigations, Murphy was placed in a line-up for possible identification by witnesses to Pavis’ shooting. Before the process began formally, he created a disturbance and stepped out of the line-up. However, two witnesses picked him out when order was restored.[9]

Connor and Murphy were held in prison together but, in April 1973, before the trial, Connor died after ingesting cyanide in his cell. He had written a suicide note in which he confessed to the crime and exonerated Murphy. It is believed Connor was forced to write the note and take the cyanide. Murphy was sent to trial for the murder of Pavis in June 1973. Although two witnesses identified him as the gunman, he was acquitted on the basis that their evidence may have been affected by the disturbance during the police line-up inquiry. However, Murphy was re-arrested and jailed for attempted escapes.[10]

By May 1975, Murphy, now aged twenty-three, was back on the streets of Belfast. On 5 May 1973, inside the Crumlin Road prison, he had married 19-year-old Margaret Gillespie, with whom he had a daughter.[11] He moved his wife and child to Brookmount Street in the upper Shankill where his parents also had a new home; however, he spent much of his time drinking in Shankill pubs such as The Brown Bear and Lawnbrook Social Club. He also regularly frequented the Bayardo Bar in Aberdeen Street.[12] Murphy later told a Provisional IRA inmate that on 13 August 1975 he had just left the Bayardo ten minutes before the IRA carried out a gun and bombing attack against the pub which killed a UVF man and four other Protestants and left over 50 injured.[13]

With his brother William he soon formed a gang of more than twenty men that would become known as the Shankill Butchers, one of his lieutenants being William Moore.

Brookmount Street (2009), where Murphy lived close to the top of the Shankill Road

Shankill Butchers murders

The gang shot dead four Catholics (two men and two women) during a robbery at a warehouse in October 1975. Over the next few months Murphy and his accomplices began to abduct, torture and murder random Catholic men they dragged off the streets late at night. Murphy regarded the use of a blade as the “ultimate way to kill”, ending the torture by hacking each victim’s throat open with a butcher’s knife. By February 1976 the gang had killed three Catholic men in this manner. Murphy achieved status though his paramilitary activity and was widely known in the Shankill. Many regarded his crimes as shaming the community but feared the consequences of testifying against him.[14][15] None of the victims had any connection to the IRA, and there was suspicion among some of their families that the murders were not properly investigated because those being killed were Catholics.[14]

The Butchers were also involved in the murder of Noel Shaw, a loyalist from a rival UVF unit, who had shot dead Butcher gang-member Archie Waller in Downing Street, off the Shankill Road, in November 1975. Four days before his death, Waller had been involved in the abduction and murder of the Butchers’ first victim, Francis Crossen. One day after Waller’s death, Shaw was beaten and pistol-whipped by Murphy while strapped to a chair, then shot. His body was later dumped in a back street off the Shankill.[16]

By the end of 1975, the UVF Brigade Staff had a new leadership of “moderates”, but Murphy refused to submit to their authority, preferring to carry out attacks by his own methods. Dillon suggested that whilst some of the Brigade Staff knew about Murphy’s activities (albeit not the precise details), they were too frightened of him and his gang to put a stop to them.[17]

On 10 January 1976, Murphy and Moore killed a Catholic man, Edward McQuaid (25), on the Cliftonville Road. Murphy, alighting from Moore’s taxi in the small hours, shot the man six times at close range.

Imprisonment

Early on 11 March 1976, Murphy shot and injured a young Catholic woman, once again on the Cliftonville. Arrested the next day after attempting to retrieve the gun used, Murphy was charged with attempted murder and remanded in custody for a prolonged period. However, he was able to plea bargain whereby he was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of a firearms offence, and received twelve years’ imprisonment on 11 October 1977. Dillon notes that the police believed Murphy was involved in the Shankill Butcher murders. To divert suspicion from himself Murphy ordered the rest of the gang to continue the cut-throat murders while he was in prison. The Butchers, now under the operational command of William Moore, went on to kill and mutilate at least three more Catholics.

The team of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) detectives investigating the murders was led by Detective Chief Inspector Jimmy Nesbitt who headed C Division based at Tennent Street off the Shankill Road. However the police were overworked during this period and little progress was made in the investigation until one victim, Gerard McLaverty, survived his assault. Detectives were driving him down the Shankill Road on the way to the scene of his abduction when he recognized two of his assailants walking in the street. This identification of Sam McAllister and Benjamin Edwards led to the arrest of much of the gang in May 1977 and, in February 1979, they were imprisoned for long periods. Confessions of gang members had named Murphy as the leader but statements incriminating him were later retracted. He was questioned once again about the Butcher murders but denied involvement.

The total of sentences handed down to the gang at Belfast Crown Court was the longest in legal history in the United Kingdom.

Last months on the Shankill

On completing his sentence for the firearms charge, Lenny Murphy walked out of the Maze Prison on Friday, 16 July 1982. During his term inside, his wife Margaret had initiated divorce proceedings which were being finalised at the time of his death. Murphy returned to his old ways, killing at least four more people over the next four months. He beat to death a partially disabled man one day after returning to the Shankill. Another victim sold him a car and was shot dead after demanding full payment.[18] Murphy also attempted to extort money from local businessmen who had been sympathetic in the past; however, this encroached on other loyalist paramilitaries with established protection rackets.[19]

In late August 1982, Murphy killed a part-time Ulster Defence Regiment soldier from the Lower Shankill area who was closely involved with the UVF in Ballymena and was allegedly an informer. The man’s body was not discovered for almost a year.[1] In mid-October, Murphy and several associates kidnapped a Catholic man who was then tortured and beaten to death in Murphy’s own house (temporally vacated due to renovations). Murphy, who had left the house strewn with the victim’s blood and teeth, was arrested for questioning the next morning but later released. The sadism of the widely publicised killing led to loyalism receiving a great deal of bad publicity, and leading UVF figures concluded that Murphy’s horrific methods had made him too much of a liability.[9]

Death

On 16 November 1982, Murphy had just pulled up outside the rear of his girlfriend’s house in the Glencairn area of the upper Shankill when two Provisional IRA gunmen emerged from a black van nearby and opened fire with an assault rifle and a 9 mm pistol. Murphy was hit by more than twenty rounds and died instantly.[20] Coincidentally, he was gunned down just around the corner from where the bodies of many of the Butchers’ victims had been dumped. A few days after his death the IRA claimed responsibility. According to RUC reports, the UVF had provided the IRA hit team with the details of Murphy’s habits and movements, which allowed them to assassinate him at that particular location. Another line of inquiry ends at UDA leader James Craig,[19] who saw Murphy as a serious threat to his widespread racketeering and provided the IRA with key information on Murphy’s movements. Craig was known to meet IRA commanders to discuss their racketeering activities – he was later killed by his comrades for “treason”.[21]

Murphy was given a large paramilitary funeral by the UVF with a guard of honour wearing the UVF uniform and balaclavas. A volley of three shots was fired over his coffin as it was brought out of his house and a piper played “Abide With Me”. He was buried in Carnmoney Cemetery; on his tombstone the following words were inscribed: “Here Lies a Soldier”.[22] The tombstone was smashed in 1989.[23] His photograph was displayed inside “The Eagle”, the UVF Brigade Staff’s headquarters over a chip shop in the Shankill Road. According to investigative journalist Paul Larkin, it graced the walls as a “fallen officer” up until the late 1990s.[24

See Shankill Butchers

See Robert “Basher” Bates

Please consider making a small or large donation as I am very poor and every donation is most welcome and goes towards the cost of running this blog.

Make a small donation

paypal donation button

Thank you!

24th October – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

 24th October

Sunday 24 October 1971 A member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was shot dead by undercover Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers during a bomb attack in Belfast.

Ruairi O’Brady

Ruairi O’Brady, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), addressed a SF Ard Fheis in Dublin and said that the North of Ireland must be made ungovernable as first step in achieving a united Ireland.

Tuesday 24 October 1972

Michael Naan & Andrew Murray

Two Catholic men were found dead at a farm at Aughinahinch, near Newtownbbutler, County Fermanagh. The incident was referred to as ‘the pitchfork killings’ and was initially thought to have been carried out by Loyalists. However it was later discovered that British soldiers had carried out the killings.

pitcfork murders
Newspaper Report on the murders

Thursday 24 October 1974

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a bomb attack on a cottage in the grounds of Harrow School in north-west London. No one was injured in the explosion. The time bomb, estimated to have contained 5lbs of explosives, exploded shortly before midnight just outside the cottage which had until just before this date been occupied by the head of the school’s Combined Cadet Force.

At 11.30pm a telephone warning about the bomb had been given to the Press Association.

Sunday 24 October 1976

Oakfield Street, 1970’s

Two British soldiers died as a result of a gun attack at Oakfield Street, Ardoyne, Belfast. The attack was carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Monday 24 October 1977

Michael Neill (16), a Catholic boy, was shot dead by the British Army on Cliftonville Road, Belfast. He had been in the vicinity of an attempted bus-hijacking.

Sunday 24 October 1982

Joseph Donegan (48), a Catholic civilian, was abducted, tortured, and beaten to death by members of a Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gang in an attack that bore the hallmarks of the ‘Shankill Butchers’.

See Shankill Butchers

[Lenny Murphy, who had been leader of the ‘Shankill Butchers’, was one of the gang who abducted and killed Donegan (Dillon, 1990).]

Lenny Murphy

Friday 24 October 1986 The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) announced that legislation would be introduced to allow public houses in Northern Ireland to open on Sundays.

Wednesday 24 October 1990 ‘Proxy Bomb’ Attacks

proxy bomb

See Coshquinn Proxy Bomb

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) launched three bomb attacks at British Army check points. The attacks became know as ‘proxy bombs’ or ‘human bombs’ because three Catholic men, whom the IRA claimed had worked for the security forces, were tied into cars which had been loaded with explosives and ordered to drive to the check points. At the Coshquin checkpoint near Derry five soldiers and the man who was forced to drive the car were all killed.

In a second attack, at Killeen near Newry, a soldier was killed. The third bomb, that had been driven to Omagh, County Tyrone, failed to detonate. The attacks resulted in widespread outrage.

The Protestant Action Force (PAF) shot and killed a Catholic taxi driver, Francis Hughes, near Moy, County Tyrone.

Monday 24 October 1994

British Army (BA) soldiers stopped patrolling in Derry.

[Troops had been patrolling the city since August 1969.]

Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers in Belfast began to patrol without bullet-proof (‘flak’) jackets. A six member delegation of Loyalist representatives addressed the National Committee on American Foreign Policy in Washington. The delegation was led by Gary McMichael, then leader of the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), and David Ervine, then leader of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP).

Saturday 24 October 1998

David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), delivered a speech to the Annual Conference of the UUP. Trimble repeated his view that Sinn Féin (SF) members could not become part of an Executive before decommissioning by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Wednesday 24 October 2001

Two men were arrested when RUC officers stopped a car near Moira, County Down, and discovered a sub-machine gun. The car was on the Moira interchange at the M1 motorway.

[The two men were believed to be members of a dissident Republican paramilitary group. The incident happened at approximately 4.00pm (1600BST).]

There were disturbances on the Crumlin Road, north Belfast. Loyalists blocked the main road at approximately 4.30pm (1630BST) thus preventing Catholic school children from getting home. Nationalists tried to get up the Crumlin Road to escort their children home and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) moved between the two groups. Bricks and bottles were thrown by both groups.

Flax Street – Crumlin Road

[The Crumlin Road is the ‘alternative’ route that Loyalists want Catholic children and their parents to use when going to and from the Holy Cross Girls’ Primary School on the nearby Ardoyne Road.]

A man (40) was shot in the leg at 8.00pm (2000BST) in the Kilcooley Estate, Bangor, County Down.

[The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) were investigating the motive for the shooting.]

There were a number of statements in the House of Commons. Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, welcomed the decommissioning by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), said that he had reappointed the three UUP Ministers to the Northern Ireland Executive “without prejudice” to the decision to be taken by the UUP executive on Saturday 27 October 2001. However, Trimble asked Blair,

“what sanctions will the government apply to them [those who had not decommissioning by February 2002] so as to avoid others having to apply sanctions?”.

[Trimble was thus explicitly setting a new deadline in the peace process.]

John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced that work had begun on the dismantling of two British Army observation towers in south Armagh. One on Sturgan mountain and one on Camlough mountain. He also announced that work would begin on Thursday 25 October 2001 on demolishing a sangar at Newtownhamilton police station in south Armagh, and also on demolishing the British Royal Irish Regiment (British Army) base in Magherafelt, County Derry. Reid also pledged to introduce a progressive programme of security normalisation as the paramilitary threat lessened.

[The demolition work is expected to take a year to complete. There was no word on the other watch towers (12?) in south Armagh. It is envisaged that there would be further cuts in the number of British Army troops based in Northern Ireland. It is also likely that the British government will make further movement on police-reform legislation, review criminal justice, and honour human rights and equality measures. Some of the security (and other) measures were ones outlined in the British and Irish governments’ Implementation Plan published on 1 August 2001.]

Tony Blair with Martti Ahtisaari (c) and Cyril Ramaphosa (r)

Cyril Ramaphosa and Martti Ahtisarri, the two independent arms inspectors, announced that they had resigned their positions. They said that they were no longer required given that the IICD and the IRA were dealing with the weapons issue. [The arms inspectors had been appointed on 14 May 2000.] The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) called on Loyalist paramilitaries to begin the process of decommissioning their weapons.

 ————————————————————–

———————————————————————————

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following  people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live  forever

– To  the Paramilitaries  –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

  18 People lost their lives on the 24th  October  between 1971 – 1990

————————————————————–

24 October 1971


Martin Forsythe,  (19)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Shot by undercover RUC during bomb attack on Celebrity Club, Donegall Place, Belfast.

————————————————————–

24 October 1972
Robert Mason,  (19) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Naples Street, off Grosvenor Road, Belfast.

————————————————————–

24 October 1972
John Morrell,   (32) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died ten days after being injured when detonated booby trap bomb while searching house, Drumarg, Armagh.

————————————————————–

24 October 1976
Anthony Abbott,  (19) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by snipers while checking abandoned car, Oakfield Street, Ardoyne, Belfast.

————————————————————–

24 October 1976
Maurice Murphy,   (26) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by snipers while checking abandoned car, Oakfield Street, Ardoyne, Belfast. He died 23 November 1976.

————————————————————–

24 October 1977


Michael Neill,   (16)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot while in the vicinity of an attempted hijacking of bus, junction of Cliftonville Road and Oldpark Road, Belfast.

————————————————————–

24 October 1979


Walter Moore,   (50)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot outside his home, Lyndhurst Parade, off Ballygomartin Road, Belfast.

————————————————————–

24 October 1982


Joseph Donegan,   (48)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Kiddlled by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Abducted while walking along Falls Road, Belfast. Found beaten to death, in entry, off Brookmount Street, Shankill, Belfast, on 25 October 1982.

See Shankill Butchers

————————————————————–

24 October 1983


Cyrus Campbell,  (49)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot while driving car at his farm, Carricklongfield, near Aughnacloy, County Tyrone.

————————————————————–

24 October 1986
Kenneth Johnston,  (25)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while sitting in his firm’s stationary car, Magherafelt, County Derry. His firm contractor to British Army (BA) / Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

————————————————————–

24 October 1990


 Francis Hughes,  (61)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Protestant Action Force (PAF)
Taxi driver. Found shot in his burnt out car Derryane Road, near Moy, County Tyrone.

————————————————————–

24 October 1990
Stephen Burrows,   (30) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in van bomb attack on permanent British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Buncrana Road, Coshquinn, near Derry.

See Coshquin Proxy Bomb

————————————————————–

24 October 1990
Stephen Beacham,   (20) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in van bomb attack on permanent British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Buncrana Road, Coshquinn, near Derry.

————————————————————–

24 October 1990


Paul Worrall,  (23) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in van bomb attack on permanent British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Buncrana Road, Coshquinn, near Derry.

————————————————————–

24 October 1990
Vincent Scott,   (21) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in van bomb attack on permanent British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Buncrana Road, Coshquinn, near Derry.

————————————————————–

24 October 1990
David Sweeney,  (19) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in van bomb attack on permanent British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Buncrana Road, Coshquinn, near Derry.

————————————————————–

24 October 1990


Patrick Gillespie,   (42)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

#Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in van bomb attack on permanent British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Buncrana Road, Coshquinn, near Derry. A civilian employed by British Army (BA), he was forced to drive the van bomb to the Vehicle Check Point (VCP).

————————————————————–

24 October 1990


Cyril Smith,   (21)

Catholic
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
From Northern Ireland. Killed in van bomb attack on permanent British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Dublin Road, Killeen, County Armagh.

————————————————————–

11th October – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

11th October

Saturday 11 October 1969

Victor Arbuckle

First RUC Officer Killed Victor Arbuckle (aged 29), a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), was shot dead by Loyalists during street disturbances on the Shankill Road in Belfast. [Arbuckle was the first member of the RUC to be killed in ‘the Troubles’.] Two Protestant civilians were shot dead by the British Army during rioting.

Sunday 11 October 1970

A claim of maladministration in housing allocation against Dungannon Rural District Council was upheld by the Commissioner for Complaints

Friday 11 October 1974

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out two bomb attacks on clubs in London. At 10.30pm a hand-thrown bomb with a short fuse was thrown through a basement window of the Victory, an ex-servicemen’s club in Seymour Street near Marble Arch. A short time later an identical bomb was thrown into the ground floor bar at the Army and Navy Club in St. James’s Square. Only one person was injured in these two attacks.

Tuesday 11 October 1977

Lenny Murphy

See Shankill Butchers

Lenny Murphy was found guilty of possession of firearms and sentenced to 12 years in jail.

[It was later revealed that Murphy was the leader of the ‘Shankill Butchers’ a Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gang which was responsible for the killings of at least 19 Catholic civilians.]

Tuesday 11 October 1983

James Prior, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said that he would resign his post if the inquiry into the Maze prison escape on 25 September 1983 found that his policies had been responsible. [The report of the inquiry was published on 26 January 1984.]

Thursday 11 October 1984

The European Parliament voted in favour of a motion calling on the British government to ban the use of plastic bullets by the security forces in Northern Ireland. An opinion poll published in the Belfast Telegraph, a Northern Ireland newspaper, showed that 58 per cent of Protestants and 50 per cent of Catholics, among those questioned, were ‘basically satisfied’ with direct rule.

Sunday 11 October 1987

Charles Haughy, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), expressed his disappointment in the achievements of the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).

Tuesday 11 October 1988

Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Northern Ireland, was physically removed from the European Parliament building when he mounted a protest at a speech being made by the Pope.

Tuesday 11 October 1994

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) began patrolling west Belfast without the support of British Army (BA) soldiers.

Wednesday 11 October 1995

John Bruton, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), said that he believed that Sinn Féin (SF) had satisfied the conditions of a commitment to exclusively peaceful means and thus all-party talks should begin.

Friday 11 October 1996

Warrant Officer James Bradwell (43) died of injuries received during the Irish Republic Army (IRA) bombing of the British Army Barracks on Monday 7 October 1996. There were reports in the Northern Ireland media that the Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) had met during the day to consider their response to the IRA bombing.

At the Conservative Party conference in Bournemouth, John Major, then British Prime Minister, told delegates that the IRA would not bomb its way into the Stormont talks. About 1,000 people attended a peace rally organised by Women Together outside the City Hall in Belfast.

Monday 11 October 1999

Mandelson Appointed Secretary of Sate Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam (Dr), then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, who had been in post since 3 May 1997 was replaced in a Cabinet reshuffle by Peter Mandelson. Although thought “too green” in her political leanings, Mowlam insisted she had not been forced out by Unionists. Mandelson had first been suggested for the position by David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).

A pipe-bomb was thrown at the home of a Catholic family in the Twinbrook area of west Belfast. The device was hurled through the family’s living room window but failed to explode. A second pipe-bomb was found outside the house. A couple and their two-month old baby were in the house at the time but escaped injury. The attack was carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries. The Police Federation of Northern Ireland launched a petition to ‘defend the RUC’ from the proposal in the Patten report. Nuala O’Loan, a law lecturer and former member of the Police Authority, was appointed by Adam Ingram, then Security Minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), as the new Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI).

Thursday 11 October 2001

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) described an attack on a Catholic man (22) as attempted murder. A Loyalist gang attacked the man on the Westlink between Grosvenor Road and Broadway, Belfast, at 3.15am (0315BST). The gang got out of a passing car as the man walked home and hit him several times with a hammer and stabbed him in the arm. The man suffered a broken cheek bone and needed stitches for the knife wound.

There was serious rioting in a number of Loyalist areas of west and north Belfast. In the Shankill area of west Belfast a Loyalist crowd attacked security forces that were involved in a search of a house. Two RUC officers and a British soldier were injured in a sustained petrol bomb attack.

A pipe-bomb was discovered during the search and one man was arrested. The RUC later found three blank-firing pistols, a quantity of ammunition, a timer power unit, £900 worth of cannabis, and paramilitary regalia, during a follow-up search. There were further disturbances during the evening with cars hijacked and set on fire. There was a blast-bomb attack on a Catholic home in the New Lodge area of north Belfast at around 10.30pm (22.30BST). Sinn Féin (SF) blamed the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) for the attack. The house attacked was the one closest to the dividing line between Catholics and Protestants living in that part of north Belfast.

Shots were also heard in the area, as a crowd gathered following the attack. The Presbyterian Church in Ireland called for an end to the Loyalist protest at the Holy Cross school. There was a meeting of Catholic parents of children attending the Holy Cross school. The meeting had been called to learn about the outcome of face-to-face discussions with residents from the neighbouring Protestant Glenbryn estate held earlier this week. However, the meeting was interrupted by the news that Loyalist residents were staging a protest on the Ardoyne Road.

——————————————————————————

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following  people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live  forever

– To  the Paramilitaries  –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

10 People lost their lives on the 11th October  between 1969 – 1996

————————————————————–

11 October 1969
Goerge Dickie,   (25)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during street disturbances, at the corner of Shankill Road and Downing Street, Belfast

————————————————————–

11 October 1969
Herbert Hawe,  (32)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during street disturbances, Hopeton Street, Shankill, Belfast.

————————————————————–

11 October 1969


Victor Arbuckle,   (29)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot during street disturbances, Shankill Road, Belfast.

————————————————————–

11 October 1971


Roger Wilkins,   (32) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died two weeks after being shot while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Letterkenny Road, Derry.

————————————————————–

11 October 1974
James Hasty,  (40)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Protestant Action Group (PAG)
Shot as he walked to work along Brougham Street, New Lodge, Belfast.

————————————————————–

11 October 1976
Anne Magee,  (15)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Died two weeks after being shot while in shop, Manor Street, Lower Oldpark, Belfast.

————————————————————–

11 October 1976
Peter Woolsey,   (39)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot at his farm, Cornascriebe, near Portadown, County Armagh.

————————————————————–

11 October 1986


Desmond Dobbin,   (42)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in mortar bomb attack on New Barnsley British Army (BA) / Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base, Springfield Road, Belfast.

————————————————————–

11 October 1988


John Larmour,  (42)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot while working at his brother’s shop, Lisburn Road, Belfast.

————————————————————–

11 October 1996


James Bradwell,   (43) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died four days after being injured during car bomb attack on Thiepval British Army (BA) base, Lisburn, County Antrim.

————————————————————–