Belfast Telegraph

Widow of last prison officer gunned down by dissidents 'retraumatised' by bomb attack

By Staff Reporter

The widow of murdered prison officer David Black has been "retraumatised" by yesterday's dissident bomb attack.

Mr Black was shot dead as he drove to work on the M1 in November 2012.

The 52-year-old father-of-two was the first prison officer to be killed in Northern Ireland in almost 20 years.

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt spoke to his wife, Yvonne, shortly after news of yesterday's murder bid emerged.

He said it had stirred memories of her husband's death.

"This will knock back people who have lost loved ones in the past," he said.

"The latest prison officer to be murdered was David Black.

"I have just spoken to his widow, Yvonne, and of course she's now back three years, retraumatised, waking up to this news and being reminded of the story of her family."

Mr Nesbitt was speaking to the BBC's Stephen Nolan Show.

Mr Black, from Cookstown, was shot dead on the motorway between Portadown and Lurgan as he drove to work at HMP Maghaberry. A car pulled up beside him and fired a number of shots, causing him to veer into a ditch.

He was the 30th prison worker to be murdered since 1974 in Northern Ireland.

Reacting to yesterday's attack, Mr Nesbitt said: "The public have to make clear to these terrorists that there is no place in a modern Northern Ireland for this sort of activity.

"We have to make clear that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder as a society in condemning it."

The attack drew cross-party political condemnation.

Gavin Robinson, the DUP MP for East Belfast, said it was a "cowardly and despicable" act aimed at dragging society back into violence.

"The determination of dissident republicans to use terror and violence has been made clear, and it is deeply concerning that the police believe that another attack on our security forces is highly likely," he said.

"The fact that police have also linked such an attack to the centenary of the Easter rebellion once again demonstrates the dangers of glorifying such past violence."

East Belfast MLA Chris Lyttle said it was a "sickening echo of the past".

"It is difficult to put into words the contempt every right-thinking member of society will have for those behind this," he said.

"The people responsible offer nothing except death, injury and disruption."

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said: "As well as being a direct attempt to kill a prison officer, the thugs and criminals who carried out this vicious murder attempt are attacking everyone who lives on this island."

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly added: "There can be no place for such attacks in our society."

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