Belfast Telegraph

RUC man's killer Seamus Kearney gets 20 years ... but he'll walk free in just two

BY MICHAEL DONNELLY

Convicted terrorist Seamus Martin Kearney, jailed for life for the IRA murder of part-time RUC man John Proctor 32 years ago, has been told he should serve a minimum of 20 years for the brutal killing.

However, he will serve less than two years under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Last month Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland convicted 54-year-old Kearney of the reservist's murder, telling him he was "either the gunman, the driver of the Ford Escort RS200 getaway car or was an occupant of the car being present to provide support for the killing".

Kearney, of Gorteade Road, Swatragh, Co Derry, had denied the murder of the 25-year-old policeman and possessing the Armalite AR15 assault rifle used to shoot him dead minutes after visiting his wife June and newborn son John jnr at the Mid Ulster Hospital on September 14, 1981.

However, years later his DNA was found on a cigarette butt recovered from the murder scene, for which he had no answer.

It is the second time that Kearney has been jailed for a terrorist gun attack. In December 1984 Kearney was given 20 years for the attempted murder of UDR soldiers whose Land Rover came under fire from the same AR15 rifle used to kill Mr Proctor as it drove through Swatragh in the directon of Maghera in November 1982.

Yesterday, Judge McFarland said he did "not take into account the release scheme under the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement".

The Belfast Crown Court judge said the shooting of Constable Proctor, even with "the passage of 30 years has in no way diminished the brutality of this murder".

Judge McFarland told him that the policeman had been an easy target for Kearney and others who "were waiting for him".

"I do not know if you were the gunman, were driving the getaway car, or were there to provide support," the judge told Kearney.

But he added that his shooting "has to be one of the most appalling murders committed during that period of our history known as the Troubles. The passage of 30 years has in no way diminished the brutality of this murder."

Mr Proctor was "murdered in a most brutal fashion and given no chance to defend himself".

"He was targeted for no other reason than he was a serving police officer," the judge concluded.

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