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Family of Shankill bomb victim Leanne call for killer to be put back behind bars

By Angela Rainey

The family of a teenager murdered in the Shankill bombing is calling on Secretary of State Theresa Villiers to revoke her killer's early release licence.

Gina Murray and her son Gary said their suffering is being prolonged after Shankill bomber Sean Kelly was arrested and released without charge for the fourth time.

Kelly (42) was found guilty of the 1993 bombing which killed nine people, including two children.

One of the victims was Gina's daughter and Gary's sister, Leanne Murray, who had celebrated her 13th birthday four weeks before.

Kelly was arrested last week in relation to the killing of Conor McKee (31) in north Belfast, who was shot dead in a bedroom in his Glenpark Street home.

Now the Murray family, who say they have been failed by the judicial system, are demanding that Kelly is returned to prison to serve his original life sentence.

They say it's an "injustice" that Kelly, who was released under the Good Friday Agreement, and only served five years for the bombing, continues to be arrested and released without charge in connection with other crimes.

Grandmother-of-four and great-grandmother to three, Ms Murray (64) said: "I'd like to see his licence revoked.

"I tried in 2005 to have it revoked with (former Northern Ireland Secretary of State) Peter Hain but got nowhere, but this time we are pushing for it.

"I'd like to meet with the Secretary of State and see what she has to say about it. This is the fourth time that I know of that he has been arrested."

The family have now requested a meeting with First Minister Arlene Foster and the Secretary of State and are awaiting a response from both.

They said they won't rest until the convicted killer is off the streets.

"If he is still involved in some kind of criminality then surely they have to revoke his licence," added Mr Murray (38).

"There has to be something there, the police have to have some sort of intelligence to lift him four times. We've kept quiet all the rest of the times he's been lifted, but this time I just thought to myself, well no more. I know the public is not allowed to know the terms and conditions of his licence but I'm sure there's something the politicians can do.

"If they know that he is still involved in criminality, still running about with the IRA, why shouldn't they put him away, he's breached his licence."

Mr Murray posted a video on the Protestant Coalition Facebook page where he urged the Secretary of State to intervene.

"For committing mass murder, he shouldn't be running about the streets today. He should be locked up," said Mr Murray.

Ms Murray said that Kelly's arrests and releases have caused the family immense stress and that most of their information about him comes from the press rather than the police.

She said: "To know that he is out and about and living his life, I'm disgusted. It's hard to come to terms with that.

"It's a total injustice, not just for us but for all the Shankill bombing families.

Leanne had gone into Frizzell's fish shop to buy whelks on the day of the bombing.

One of her mother's last memories was of sharing a joke over Leanne's new three-inch heel shoes, and her daughter boasting at how tall she felt crossing the road.

Ms Murray added: "Someone said to me that night he was arrested that they thought I'd be dancing for joy, but I just said, 'Why? He'll be released by tomorrow. There's no point getting our hopes up' and I was right."

Kelly was released from jail in 2000 under the terms of the Agreement, but his early release licence was revoked by Peter Hain in June 2005 after the republican was suspected of involvement in rioting in Ardoyne.

He was re-released just over a month later, and the following day the IRA ordered an end to its armed campaign.

Kelly was also arrested in 2013 after a teenager was shot in the legs in a paramilitary-style attack. And he was detained in the wake of the Kevin McGuigan murder in east Belfast last year.

Belfast Telegraph


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