Belfast Telegraph

IRA victim niece calls for justice

The niece of a woman shot dead outside a military base in Germany has vowed to continue her fight for justice.

No one has ever been convicted in connection with the killing of Heidi Hazell in September 1989.

But, her niece Melanie Anan wept as she told a reception for terror victims in Belfast she would not give up in her pursuit of the IRA killers.

She said: "For more than three minutes she clung to life as most of her organs were torn apart by 12, 7.3 millimetre bullets from an AK47.

"As Heidi sat slumped over her steering wheel, dying, the gunman and his accomplices sped away. And, for the next 25 years went unpunished.

"I am here today to tell you there is no forgiveness without repentance. There is no tolerance without punishment."

Twenty-six-year-old Heidi Hazell, the wife of a British soldier, was gunned down as she parked outside an Army base in Dortmund, West Germany.

She was among 14 people murdered by republicans in mainland Europe during the Troubles.

Her family, who are campaigning to have the case re-opened, have revealed that the German authorities know the identities of the main murder suspects.

Ms Anan, who was just 16 at the time of the murder, added: "After nearly 26 years and not one answer I decided to step out of purgatory and make every effort to seek justice for Heidi."

Ms Anan travelled from Germany to address an event to mark European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Terrorism at Stormont.

There was standing room only during the event the Senate Chamber of Parliament Buildings and Ms Anan, was applauded for her scathing attack on the 1998 Good Friday Agreement which paved the way for peace in Northern Ireland and hit out at former paramilitaries taking seats in Government.

"You don't get to run for public office after you murder and smuggle arms and run a criminal empire," she said. "In the real world you go to prison."

Meanwhile, Ruth Patterson who was just 10 years old when she was shot four times during a loyalist gun attack in 1992 said victims feel ignored.

Ms Patterson, who suffered post traumatic stress disorder which went undiagnosed until after the birth of her child, said : "I feel that survivors are not given the acknowledgement that they deserve and I would like to see that changed.

"My pain and sense of injustice is very strong but I feel that I am overlooked and almost irrelevant.

"Over the years I have just had to get on with things and try to lead as normal a life as possible although, with this event going around daily in my head, it is impossible to have a normal life."

The event was hosted by Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister who described it as a "privilege" to hear stories from "innocent victims".

The European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Terrorism was initiated in 2004 following the Madrid train bombings in which 191 people were killed.

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