Belfast Telegraph

Shankill bomb: The nine innocent victims who perished in IRA attack

by chris kilpatrick

1. Michael Morrison

Michael Morrison (27) was the partner of Evelyn Baird, also 27, and the couple had three children together. Their little seven-year-old daughter Michelle died alongside her parents.

Mr Morrison, known locally as 'Minnie', was a keen footballer.

The family had gone out to buy a wreath for Michael's father who had died just two days earlier.

The bomb left his two other children orphaned.

2. Evelyn Baird

The mother-of-three was the only child of Bobby and Evelyn Baird. They spent hours frantically trying to get news about the family following the blast.

They visited the Ulster Hospital, Royal Victoria Hospital and Mater Hospital searching for their loved ones.

It was 9pm that evening before they learned of the deaths.

Bobby Baird said his brother-in-law identified the bodies.

He said: "Later my brother-in-law said to me, 'Thank God you did not go in'. We never saw them again.

"The coffins came home sealed."

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph previously, Mr Baird said: "It was a nightmare and looking back we wonder again and again how we coped.

"We spent much of the time in a daze."

Mr Baird added that he would never forgive the bombers "until the day breath leaves me".

Bobby and Evelyn Baird brought up Michael and Evelyn's other two children, a nine-year-old boy and six-week-old girl.

3. Michelle Baird

Schoolgirl Michelle (7) was killed with her parents in the fishmongers.

Initially her grandparents had no idea why they were there then remembered Michelle loved the crab sticks sold there.

"She always came back with those if they went on to the Shankill," said grandfather Bobby Baird.

Michelle's sister Lauren, who was just months old at the time of the atrocity, said: "All my friends have mummies and daddies and I don't.

"I have never been able to call anybody mummy or daddy."

4. Wilma McKee

The mother-of-two survived the initial blast but died in hospital the following day as a result of her injuries.

Mrs McKee (38) had been buoyed by the news she was clear of cancer just 24 hours before her untimely death.

She had been in a fruit shop on the Shankill just prior to the explosion.

As she walked past the front of Frizzell's the bomb detonated – with her husband Brian and sons Brian jnr (14) and Craig (10) looking on from a car across the street. Brian tried in vain to dig his wife from the rubble, burrowing in the area she had last been seen.

Later Mrs McKee was discovered across the street.

"We remember the happy times with Wilma," said her uncle John Scott.

"She was a happy-go-lucky person, shy with strangers, but with family, fantastic."

5&6. George and Gillian Williamson

George (63) and Gillian (49) Williamson had just moved house and were on a trip to buy curtains when killed.

The couple had two children and lived in Lisburn.

The following day the couple's daughter told reporters: "To lose both our parents in one day – oh God, oh God.

"I am angry... and I am bitter.

"I will never forgive them for this, never."

At their funeral service, Rev Gordon Gray told mourners: "Whatever injustices spawned the bitterness and anger that sparked off the contemporary phase of Ireland's Troubles, there is no excuse for carrying on with acts of terror now.

"What cause, whether loyalist or republican, can justify making victims of ordinary decent people like George and Gillian Williamson who last night spent only their second night in their new dream home?

"George and Gillian Williamson had strong convictions, principles that let them bring up their family to regard Protestant and Catholic as equal in dignity and equally deserving of respect."

7. John Frizzell

John Frizzell (63) owned the fishmonger's shop in his family's name. He was a father-of-three.

Mr Frizzell took over the business in 1966 and ran it with his wife, Elsie. The couple were well-known in the area for their generosity and involvement with the church.

His wife survived, having left the shop minutes before the blast.

"He was a gentleman," said Jimmy McCullough, who knew Mr Frizzell and helped carry his body from the rubble.

"He used to give out wee gospel tracts and sold tapes of him singing Christian songs from the shop.

"They were displayed in his window. Mr Frizzell was a great man."

8. Sharon McBride

Sharon McBride (29) was killed as she helped out at her father's shop. She lived in Kilcoole Park.

Mrs McBride's husband Alan had that morning dropped her to work before taking their two-year-old daughter for a bike ride.

He rushed to the scene when told there had been an explosion in the area.

"As soon as I turned the corner and saw the shop I knew there was no one getting out of there alive," he said.

"I went crazy, shouting and crying."

9. Leanne Murray

Teenager Leanne Murray had been shopping with her mum Gina.

She left her mum to go into the fish shop. When the bomb detonated her mum searched frantically for her. Four hours later Gina identified the body of 13-year-old Leanne in a morgue.

It was not the family's first heartbreak.

Gina's husband died from a stroke eight months before the blast, she had lost a five-year-old son in a road accident and a baby boy in a stillbirth.

Mrs Murray said: "Leanne had just left me to go into the fish shop. Suddenly there was this huge bang.

"We ran screaming for Leanne. We couldn't find her. No-one had seen her.

"I was screaming her name but it was no use. My little daughter was dead."

She described her daughter as a "happy girl", who was just recently back from a cross-community trip to Chicago, and keen to return when she was 16 to do work experience.

On the trip, Leanne had become firm friends with a Catholic girl and the pair went swimming together every week.

Months after the bomb Mrs Murray left Belfast to live in England.

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