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Family of pregnant woman murdered by UVF in call for collusion inquiry

By Staff Reporter

Published 18/07/2015

Damian holds a picture of his mother Kathleen O'Hagan
Damian holds a picture of his mother Kathleen O'Hagan

Relatives of a pregnant woman murdered by loyalist gunmen have asked the Police Ombudsman to examine claims of security force collusion in her killing.

Kathleen O'Hagan was shot dead by a UVF gang which smashed its way into the family's remote Co Tyrone bungalow in August 1994.

Almost 21 years later, her killers have never been caught.

The family claim the security forces colluded with the UVF gang and have now asked the Police Ombudsman to investigate.

They also want the case re-examined by a coroner.

Kathleen's son Damian told the BBC's Nolan Show: "There is so much that needs to be asked and so much that needs to be answered."

Kathleen was shot dead at her home in Greencastle on August 7, 1994, as her young children slept.

The mother-of-five was seven months' pregnant at the time.

Damian was woken by the noise of the gang forcing its way in and his mother's desperate pleas for her life.

"We heard this awful smash and didn't know what was going on," he said.

"I remember then, a few seconds later, hearing my mother shouting: 'No, no, don't do this'."

He added: "We jumped up out of bed, didn't know what was happening, went in and it was all over.

"My mother was lying, obviously dead, although we didn't know at the time. We went over, trying to waken her. The blood was coming out of her face." Damian, who was seven at the time, says he will never forget the sound of his mother begging for her life.

Kathleen's youngest son Thomas, who was just a few months old, was in a cot in the room.

"The whole room was riddled with bullet holes, right above the cot. If he had stood up he'd have been shot too," said Damian.

He said the killers appeared to know which room Kathleen would be in.

The family believes the killing was ordered by the now deceased loyalist leader Billy Wright.

It is thought the gang was looking for Damian's father Paddy, a former republican prisoner.

Mr O'Hagan died in 2002 after suffering a heart attack.

Damian also lost two brothers in separate tragedies. One died in a fire and a second was killed in a motorbike accident. Solicitor Aiden Carlin, who is representing the family, said the Police Ombudsman had accepted that the O'Hagans' complaint was grave and exceptional.

"They feel it is a project that they need to do," he said.

"First of all because of the original police investigation; for example, the getaway car was found by local people.

"It was burnt out a mile away from the family home. An Army helicopter couldn't detect it, but local people found it.

"Suspects' clothes have gone missing, there were other lines of inquiry which weren't pursued."

Mr Carlin said there were unresolved issues around the case which would not go away.

The Police Ombudsman's Office confirmed it had received a complaint. A spokesman said: "Our investigators have met with members of Mrs O'Hagan's immediate family. We are now considering the matter in detail, pending any investigation."


Kathleen O'Hagan was shot dead at her home at Greencastle, Co Tyrone, in August 1994. The attack was later claimed by the Mid-Ulster UVF. It is believed the gang intended to kill Kathleen's husband Paddy, a former republican prisoner. The killers have never been caught. An inquest was held in 1997 but Kathleen's children want a fresh one.

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