Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

'God bless. I love you. Watch yourself'... last words of wife to RUC officer John Proctor just before he was shot dead

RUC Reservist  John Proctor who was murdered in 1981
RUC Reservist John Proctor who was murdered in 1981

The last words between a murdered policeman and his young wife who had given birth to a baby son were read at the trial of a convicted terrorist accused of the IRA assassination more than 30 years ago.

The agreed statement of Kathleen Proctor was one of several read to the Belfast Crown Court trial of 54-year-old Seamus Martin Kearney, of Gorteade Road, Swatragh, Co Londonderry, who denies the murder of 25-year-old RUC Reservist John Proctor.

Mr Proctor was gunned down in the car park of the Mid Ulster Hospital on September 14, 1981.

In the statement, Mrs Proctor talked of how her husband "Johnny was in his usual good form" that evening and how they teased each other over how fast she had been in getting back to her ward to watch him from the window after leaving him to the front door of the hospital.

Mrs Proctor added that as her husband walked on, she told him for the last time: "God Bless... I love you... watch yourself."

Her statement said that her husband then walked on alone, and that she estimated: "Johnny would just have had time to reach his car when I heard the sound of shooting." She said she then ran to the nurses' room which overlooked the car park and looked out the window to see an ambulance parked at the back of her husband's car.

As she watched, the figure of a man was lifted into the back of the ambulance.

She said: "I recognised it was my husband from the clothing he was wearing."

Mrs Proctor was then taken to the casualty unit where minutes later she was told that "Johnny was dead."

Two sisters leaving the hospital car park at the time told, in their statements, of seeing a gunman and of hearing shots being fired. The prosecution claim they can link Kearney to the murder by a DNA profile found on one of two cigarette butts recovered at the scene. This is together with more than a dozen spent cartridge cases from an armalite AR15 assault rifle, which was also used in a murder bid on UDR soldiers the following year, of which Kearney was later convicted in 1984.

A forensic expert who examined the cigarette ends, said one of them did not have enough material to be analysed.

However, the other provided a DNA profile matching that of Kearney's, a match which was a "one in a billion" in the population.

At hearing.

BACKGROUND

RUC part-time officer John Proctor was shot dead after visiting his wife in hospital where she had just given birth to their son. Seamus Martin Kearney, who has previously been convicted of a murder bid on UDR soldiers using the same weapon that was used to kill Mr Proctor, is on trial for his murder. The prosecution case relies heavily on DNA evidence from two cigarette butts allegedly found at the scene of the shooting.

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