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'I identified my husband from the buckle of his shoe'

Kay McGerty
Kay McGerty

Jimmy McGerty was from Co Cavan. He lived in Antrim with his wife Kay. He was stopped at a UDA checkpoint in Belfast in July 1972.

When they found out Jimmy was a Catholic, he was tied up, abducted, beaten, shot and then set on fire. He was 26 years old. His body was found in an abandoned car. Kay said:

"We met in Bundoran in the Astoria Ballroom and married in 1970. Jimmy was a barman. I had just graduated as a special-needs teacher. Both of us got work in Belfast.

"I had a stillborn baby in April 1972. Jimmy decided the late nights weren't a good idea and he would open a shop in Antrim.

"The Wednesday after he opened the shop, he went to Belfast to get stock for it. I expected him home at the latest at 6.30pm. But 6.30 came, then 7.30.

"The baby who died, we would have called her Catherine. At 11.40pm I said, 'Wee baby Catherine, send your daddy safe home.' Then I let out a scream, 'He's not coming home.'

"Ten minutes later, his body was found in a burning car in Summer Street in Belfast.

"I identified Jimmy McGerty from the buckle of his shoe. His body had been burnt in the back of the car.

"Jimmy was always writing wee notes. Forty years later, I found this.

"I thought, 'This is just so Jimmy McGerty'":

'Oh to be in Cavan among the summer flowers.

Within the rocks of Darragh where the Shannon rises,

I'd sit upon the whin listening to the sky lark

Oblivious of all the rot.

I wouldn't poach the salmon

Or rob the white swan's nest.

I'd rather watch the cygnet move homeward to her rest'.

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