Tag Archives: Robert Hamill Killing

Death of Robert Hamill: 27th April 1997

Death of Robert Hamill

Robert Hamill

Robert Hamill was an Irish Catholic civilian who was beaten to death by a loyalist mob in Portadown, County Armagh, Northern Ireland. Hamill and his friends were attacked on 27 April 1997 on the town’s main street. It has been claimed that the local Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), parked a short distance away, did nothing to stop the attack.

At the time of the murder, tension between loyalists (mainly Protestants) and Irish nationalists (mainly Catholics) was high, mostly due to the ongoing Drumcree parade dispute.

— Disclaimer –

The views and opinions expressed in this post/documentaries  are solely 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.

Death

Loyalism RUC Robert Hamill

Hamill and his friends were attacked by a group of loyalists while walking home from St. Patrick’s dance hall at about 1.30 a.m on 27 April 1997.

After walking along Market Street from the dance hall, they came to the intersection of Market and Thomas Streets in Portadown, where they were attacked. Hamill and his friend, Gregory Girvan, were kicked by the crowd while their attackers shouted abuse at them and Robert Hamill was knocked unconscious almost immediately.

Girvan’s wife and sister, Joanne and Siobhán Garvin, respectively, called for help from four RUC officers sitting in a Land Rover about twenty feet away from the attack, but they did not intervene to stop the attack. The assault lasted about ten minutes, leaving both men unconscious. Just before the ambulance arrived, one of the RUC men got out of the Land Rover and told Garvin to put Robert into the recovery position.

Robert Hamill never regained consciousness and died of his injuries eleven days later on 8 May 1997, aged 25. The cause of his death was recorded as

“Diffuse Brain Injury associated with Fracture of Skull due to Blows to the Head”.

Six people were arrested after Robert Hamill’s death, but only one was eventually tried for his murder.

Investigation

Trial of Paul Hobson

Paul R. Hobson was charged with murder, but found not guilty, though he was found guilty of unlawful fighting and causing an affray and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. The case under which Hobson was prosecuted is questionable as the main witness,

Constable Atkinson of the then RUC, was at one stage a suspect in conspiracy to cause murder in the same case. His solicitor also did not use crucial evidence in the case to cross-examine witnesses. Mr. Justice McCollum said during his verdict that the killing was a sectarian act, with a very large number of loyalists attacking a small number of nationalists, but that he could not decide whether the RUC men had left their Land Rover or not during the attack.

Allegations of police collusion

The RUC have been criticised for initially claiming in press releases that there was a riot between two large groups; then afterwards claiming it was a large group attacking a group of four. Rosemary Nelson was solicitor for the Hamill family until she was assassinated by a loyalist car bomb in Lurgan

See Rosemary Nelson

There have been allegations of collusion between the RUC and suspects. A public inquiry is currently being held on the recommendation of Cory Collusion Inquiry

New charges

In December 2010 it was announced that three people, including a former RUC officer, were to be charged in relation to Robert Hamill’s death.

In September 2014 District Judge Peter King, sitting at Craigavon court, ruled that a key witness was entirely unreliable and utterly unconvincing. The case against the three, ex-policeman Robert Cecil Atkinson, his wife Eleanor Atkinson, and Kenneth Hanvey, was not sufficient to try.

Man acquitted of Robert Hamill’s Murder in Portadown, March 1999

References

  1. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h Cory Collusion Report Robert Hamill
  2. Jump up to:a b c d e f g The Sectarian Killing of Robert Hamill Archived 2009-09-06 at the Wayback MachineAmnesty International, 1 October 1999.
  3. ^ Portadown man cleared of Robert Hamill’s murder, RTÉ News, 25 March 1999
  4. ^ Claims against RUC at Hamill inquiry, RTÉ News, 13 January 2009
  5. ^ Robert Hamill Inquiry
  6. ^ Moriarty, Gerry (22 December 2010). “Former RUC officer to be charged in Hamill case”The Irish Times. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  7. ^ “Robert Hamill murder: Three accused will not face trial”. BBC News. Retrieved 2016-07-23.

Rosemary Nelson – September 1958 – March 1999

Rosemary Nelson

4th  September 1958 – 15th  March 1999

Rosemary Nelson (née Magee; 4 September 1958 – 15 March 1999) was a prominent Irish human rights solicitor who was assassinated by an Ulster loyalist paramilitary group in 1999. A bomb exploded under her car at her home in Lurgan, Northern Ireland; the Red Hand Defenders claimed responsibility. Allegations that the British state security forces were involved in her killing led to a public inquiry.

It found no evidence that state forces directly facilitated her murder, but could not exclude the possibility that individual members had helped the perpetrators. It said that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) failed to protect her and that she had been publicly threatened and assaulted by officers, which helped legitimize her as a target.

 

— 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.

Career

Rosemary Nelson, née Magee, obtained her law degree at Queens University, Belfast (QUB). She worked with other solicitors for a number of years before opening her own practice. Nelson represented clients in a number of high-profile cases (including Michael Caraher, one of the South Armagh Snipers, as well as a republican paramilitary accused of killing two RUC officers.

She also represented the Garvaghy Road Residents’ Coalition in nearby Portadown in the long-running Drumcree conflict against the Orange Order and RUC.

 

Image result for Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition

Assassination

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Solicitor Rosemary Nelson murdered in Lurgan

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Nelson claimed she had received death threats from members of the RUC as a result of her legal work. Some RUC officers made abusive and threatening remarks about Nelson to her clients, which became publicly known.

In 1998, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Solicitors, Param Cumaraswamy, noted these threats in his annual report, and stated in a television interview that he believed her life could be in danger. He made recommendations to the British government concerning threats from police against Solicitors, which were not acted upon.

Later that year, Nelson testified before a committee of the United States Congress investigating human rights in Northern Ireland, confirming that death threats had been made against her and her three children.

Nelson was assassinated, at the age of 40, by a car bomb outside her home in Lurgan, County Armagh, in 1999. A loyalist paramilitary group calling itself the Red Hand Defenders claimed responsibility for the killing.

She was survived by her husband and their three children.

Image result for rosemary nelson funeral

Posthumous

In 2004, the Cory Collusion Inquiry recommended that the UK Government hold an inquiry into the circumstances of Nelson’s death. Nelson was posthumously awarded the Train Foundation‘s Civil Courage Prize, which recognises “extraordinary heroes of conscience”.[15]

Inquiry

The resulting inquiry into her assassination opened at the Craigavon Civic Centre, Craigavon, County Armagh, in April 2005. In September 2006 the British Security Service MI5 announced it would be represented at the inquiry. This move provoked criticism from Nelson’s family, who reportedly expressed concerns that MI5 would remove sensitive or classified information.

Image result for mi5 secret service

The results of the inquiry were published on 23 May 2011. The inquiry found no evidence that state agencies (the RUC, British Army and MI5) had “directly facilitated” her murder, but “could not exclude the possibility” that individual members had helped the perpetrators.

It found that state agencies had failed to protect her and that some RUC intelligence about her had ‘leaked’. Both of these, it said, increased the danger to her life.

The report also stated that RUC officers had publicly abused and assaulted her in 1997, and made threatening remarks about her to her clients, which became publicly known.

It concluded that this helped “legitimise her as a target in the eyes of loyalist terrorists”.

30th September – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

Monday 30 September 1968

  Civil Rights Campaign Derry March

Wednesday 30 September 1970

A Protestant man was shot and killed by Loyalists in Belfast.

[‘Lost Lives’ claimed that the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) was responsible.]

Thursday 23 September 1971

Two members of the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) were killed in a premature bomb explosion.

Thursday 30 September 1971

Ian Paisley and Desmond Boal launched the Ulster Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Saturday 30 September 1972

Five people died in separate incidents in Belfast. A sixth person died later as a result of injuries received on the day.

Friday 30 September 1988

See SAS Gibraltar Page

An inquest held in Gibraltar  decided that the Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers who shot dead three Irish Republican Army (IRA) members on 6 March 1988 had acted lawfully. There was conflicting evidence on whether or not the IRA members had been given a warning before being shot.

Sunday 30 September 1990

‘Joy riders’ Shot Dead Martin Peake (17) and Karen Reilly (18), both Catholic civilians, were shot dead by British Army paratroopers in Belfast. The two teenagers were travelling (‘joy riding’) in a stolen car. At the time it was claimed that the stolen car had failed to stop at an army check point and struck a member of the army foot patrol.

[Later it was revealed that the injuries suffered by the soldier were deliberately inflicted after the incident by another soldier. In June 1993 Lee Clegg, a private in the Parachute Regiment, was sentenced to life imprisonment. Clegg’s subsequent early release and return to his regiment caused uproar in the nationalist community.]

Wednesday 30 September 1992

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) returned to the resumed political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) at Stormont. The DUP attended this section of the talks because the main business was Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution.

[The DUP were criticised as having an ‘a la carte’ approach to the talks.]

Saturday 30 September 1995

Sinn Féin (SF) held a special one-day conference to review the peace process in the RDS, Dublin, attended by approximately 800 members. The delegates supported the SF leadership’s position that there was “no other

Tuesday 30 September 1997

Format of Negotiations Agreed at Talks The parties involved in the talks at Stormont agreed the format for the substantive negotiations. The talks would take place in three strands. The first strand would deal with arrangements for government in Northern Ireland, the second would look at relationships between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and the third would look at the relationships between Britain and Ireland.

The substantive talks were due to begin on 7 October 1997. Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, addressed the Labour Party’s annual conference and announced that internment would be removed form the statute books. William Hague, then leader of the Conservative Party, paid his first official visit to Northern Ireland but did not meet any political leaders.

Wednesday 30 September 1998

Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), announced that a number of British Army installations and check-points were to be demolished. There was a further series of releases under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. Seamus Mallon, then deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), addressed a meeting of the of the Labour Party conference in Blackpool, England. Mallon, while acknowledging that there was no pre-condition to Sinn Féin’s (SF) entry into an Executive, nevertheless called on the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to make a confidence building gesture.

Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), also addressed the meeting and stated that the row over decommissioning had the potential to wreck the Good Friday Agreement.

Thursday 30 September 1999

See Robert Hamill Killing

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided not to charge any Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer in connection with the killing of Robert Hamill following a beating he received on 29 April 1997. Hamill was severely beaten in a sectarian attack by a gang of up to 30 loyalists in the centre of Portadown, County Armagh, and he died from head injuries on 8 May 1997.

Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were present close to the scene of the attack and were accused by witnesses and Hamill’s family of not intervening to save him. Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), travelled to Dublin for a meeting at his request with Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister).

The meeting was called to discuss a series of attacks that had occurred on Free Presbyterian churches in the Republic of Ireland. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) launched a three year strategic plan part of which was to involve the drafting of a Bill of Rights.`


Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

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

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.

  16 People lost their lives on the 30th September  between 1970 – 1992

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30 September 1970
David Murray,  (49)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot at his home, Wilton Street, Shankill, Belfast.

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30 September 1972


Patricia McKay,   (20)

Catholic
Status: Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during attempted attack on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Ross Street, Lower Falls, Belfast.

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30 September 1972


Francis Lane,   (23)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Found shot on waste ground, Glencairn Road, Glencairn, Belfast.

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30 September 1972
John Kelly,  (43)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Died three days after being shot during altercation between local people and British Army (BA) patrol, Tullagh Park, Andersonstown, Belfast.

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30 September 1972


Thomas Rudman,   (20) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Ladbrooke Drive, Ardoyne, Belfast.

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30 September 1972


Patrick McKee,  (25)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Killed in car bomb attack outside Conlon’s Bar, Smithfield, Belfast.

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30 September 1972


James Gillen,   (21)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Injured in car bomb attack outside Conlon’s Bar, Smithfield, Belfast. He died 17 October 1972.

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30 September 1972


Joseph Lynskey,   (45)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Went missing from the Beechmount area, Belfast, during August/September 1972. Presumed killed. Body never found.

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30 September 1974


Ralph Laverty,   (55)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot at his workplace, bakery, Orby Road, Bloomfield, Belfast.

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30 September 1974
John Cameron,  (57)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot at his home, Elimgrove Street, off Cliftonville Road, Belfast. Mistaken for a Catholic neighbour.

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30 September 1978


James Taylor,   (23)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by undercover British Army (BA) member, Ballygoney Road, near Coagh, County Tyrone.

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30 September 1980
Robert Shields,  (44)

Protestant
Status: ex-Royal Ulster Constabulary (xRUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot at his workplace, ambulance depot, Royal Victoria Hospital, Falls Road, Belfast.

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30 September 1982


Gerard O’Neill,   (28)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot at his workplace, Rosetta petrol station, Ormeau Road, Belfast.

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30 September 1990


Martin Peake,  (17) Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot while travelling in stolen car, Glen Road, Andersonstown, Belfast.

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30 September 1990


Karen Reilly,  (18)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot while travelling in stolen car, Glen Road, Andersonstown, Belfast.

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30 September 1992


Harry Black,  (27)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Association (UDA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while in friend’s home, Annadale Flats, Ballynafeigh, Belfast.

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See: Robert Hamill Killing