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Mum of dissident victim Andrew Allen says 'men hiding behind masks are animals'

By Donna Deeney

Five years after her son was murdered by paramilitaries, Donna Smith is still angry that they continue to act as judge, jury and executioner.

Andrew Allen, from Londonderry, died after a Republican Action Against Drugs gunman fired shots through the bedroom window of his home in Buncrana in February 2012.

The aftermath of the attack is still felt by Mr Allen's mother, who said the paramilitaries destroyed her life when they murdered her son.

Ms Smith told the Belfast Telegraph: "From the moment I received the phone call telling me Andy had been murdered, my life was shattered.

"These faceless men hiding behind masks, acting on no one's authority, still think they can decide who is innocent, who is guilty and who gets a beating, who gets shot and who gets murdered.

"Who gives them the right to do that? No matter what anyone has done, no one has the right to shoot them. They are animals.

"We know why Andy was shot, but we cannot discuss publicly the details. My son did not deserve to die.

"His two children did not deserve to be left without a father and I didn't deserve to be left without my son.

"It makes me so angry that the people who murdered my son are still walking the streets of Derry.

"I know who they are, the whole town knows who they are. So many people have come to us and repeated their names, but they are still free to go around this city like they hadn't a care in the world while our lives have been destroyed."

To date a number of people have been arrested in connection with the murder of Mr Allen, but all were later released. The latest arrest was on April 11. However, the man, who was in his 50s, was also released without charge.

Ms Smith said she was angry that no one had been charged so far, adding: "As each year passes without anyone being charged, I wonder if anyone ever will."

She said the pain of losing her son endures to this day.

"Two weeks ago, Andy's son made his confirmation and we were all there, but Andy wasn't," Ms Smith added.

"This was just one of so many family events he didn't live to see - weddings, Christmas, birthdays, but the hardest for me is Mother's Day.

"Andy was a big character, full of fun, and like the rest of my children he never missed coming to see me on Mother's Day. His absence is so sore.

"The gunmen can't see the pain they have left behind. It is something we and families like ours are left to deal with, but they don't care."

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