Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Inquiry call over corporals' deaths

Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott called on police to reopen their investigations into the IRA murders of two soldiers
Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott called on police to reopen their investigations into the IRA murders of two soldiers

The IRA murders of two soldiers during one of the most bloody periods of the Northern Ireland conflict should be reinvestigated, it was claimed.

Detectives must reopen their inquiries on the 25th anniversary of the shooting dead of Corporals Derek Woods and David Howes, Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott said.

The soldiers were in an unmarked car when they were inadvertently caught up in a republican funeral in west Belfast and killed.

Mr Elliott said: "Although IRA men Alex Murphy and Harry Maguire were convicted of the murders, many others were part of the republican mob that lynched these two young men. I would appeal to the PSNI to renew their investigation into these murders.

"Irish republicans should provide the police with information so that those responsible can be brought to justice and clear their guilty consciences. Some senior members of Sinn Fein may hold the vital key which could help bring more people before the courts."

The two-week cycle of violence that ended in the killing of two army corporals by the IRA began on 6 March 1988 when British special forces killed three IRA members in Gibraltar.

At these IRA funerals 10 days later, a lone loyalist gunman, Michael Stone, killed three more people. One of those killed by Stone at Milltown Cemetery was Kevin Brady, who was a member of the IRA. His funeral was held three days later on Saturday March 19.

As Brady's funeral cortege made its way down the Andersonstown Road in west Belfast, a car containing the corporals drove towards it and was subsequently cornered by mourners and black taxi drivers.

The victims were dragged from the car, attacked, then taken away to be shot despite the desperate pleas of Fr Alec Reid, a key player in the nascent peace process.

They were beaten in the nearby Casement Park Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) grounds then transported and shot in a derelict area close to the Andersonstown Road. The images were broadcast around the world.

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