Court hears IRA shooting ‘confession’
An alleged IRA would-be killer confessed to Swedish immigration authorities that he had shot a UDR soldier, a court has heard.
Giving evidence at the Belfast Crown Court trial of 52-year-old Terence Gerard McGeough, Swedish immigration legal expert Helene Hedribis said that McGeough tried to claim political asylum in August 1983.
She told the Diplock, no-jury trial judge Mr Justice Stephens that as part of his application McGeough had submitted a letter where, after outlining Irish history from the 1200s until the 1980s and telling of joining first Sinn Fein and then the IRA, he recounted being given a revolver and bullets before shooting at a “British Army officer”.
McGeough, from Carrycastle Road, Gortmerron, Dungannon, is accused of attempting to murder Samuel Brush in June 1981, possessing two Colt revolvers used in the attack, and two counts of being a member of the IRA on dates in 1975 and 1981.
Alongside him in the dock is 47-year-old Vincent McAnespie, from Aghabo Close in Aughnacloy, who denies possessing the guns and ammunition with intent to endanger life and under suspicious circumstances, and a further charge of impeding the apprehension of McGeough by hiding the pistols.
The trial has already heard that Mr Brush, who also worked as a postman, was making a delivery to a house north of Aughnacloy and had just put a letter through the letterbox when he saw a “masked gunman” step out from an adjacent shed, turn in his direction and shoot at him from about 12 feet.
However a bulletproof jacket saved his life and he returned fire with his own pistol, wounding one of the gunmen. Mr Justice Stephens has also heard that McGeough was treated first in Monaghan Hospital before being flown to a Dublin hospital where he was treated for a gunshot wound.
McGeough managed to escape despite being under armed guard. He was arrested in 2007 as he left a polling station in Fermanagh, where he was standing as a republican candidate.
Quoting from McGeough's letter yesterday, Mrs Hedribis said: “‘I went there to ambush him and, in accordance with the Geneva Convention, I wore military uniform. I shot him in the chest but I now realise that he was wearing a bulletproof vest under his shirt. He returned fire and wounded me.’”
The letter goes onto to relate how he fled to America where he arranged for arms, missiles and ammunition to be sent to the IRA in Northern Ireland.
Asked by prosecuting lawyer David McDowell if McGeough had been granted asylum, Mrs Hebridis said he had not.
The trial continues.