Belfast Telegraph

Bring back the death penalty for Provos who killed our Paul, says brother

Kingsman Paul Worrall
Kingsman Paul Worrall
Leona O'Neill

By Leona O'Neill

The brother of a soldier who died alongside five others in an IRA proxy bomb at the Donegal border has said the terrorists behind the attack should face the death penalty.

Paul Worrall (23) was a private in the King's Regiment when he was murdered in October 1990.

His brother Roy Dickson said after nearly 30 years of "hell", which destroyed his life and ripped apart his family, he can't forgive those responsible.

The attack is widely considered to be one of the most despicable during the Troubles.

Paul with his younger brother Lee
Paul with his younger brother Lee

An IRA gang strapped Londonderry father Patsy Gillespie to his work van, which was packed with 1,000lbs of explosives, and forced him to drive to a border Army checkpoint at Cosquin.

The IRA gang held Mr Gillespie's wife Kathleen and their teenage children hostage at gunpoint in their Lenamore home until minutes before the bomb exploded, killing him, Mr Worrall, and his fellow Kingsmen Stephen Beacham, Vincent Scott, David Sweeney and Lance Corporal Stephen Burrows.

Mr Worrall's 49-year-old brother Roy has said that he will "never forgive the evil men" who killed his brother and said the atrocity ripped apart his family and subjected them to "30 years of hell".

"Paul was my big brother, he was three years older than me," he said.

"There was my sister Tracy, Paul, me and my brother Lee.

"We grew up in Runcorn in Cheshire in a housing estate with my mum and dad.

The aftermath of the explosion in October, 1990
The aftermath of the explosion in October, 1990

"Then dad took his own life when I was 11.

"After that, our lives just really turned for the worse. My mum married another man who we didn't get along with.

"I don't know if Paul joined the Army to get away from the situation or because he was forced to.

"Because when I was 16 years old I was given the option of going to join the Army or get out of the house.

"I went and did the entrance test and passed everything and was offered a place in Artillery.

"I always wanted to be a chef so I turned the place down and told the guy at the barracks I didn't want to join, that I was being made to do it.

"I went home and said to my stepfather that I failed the test and wasn't accepted and he told me to get out of the house.

"I think my brother was given the same choice. He went and he died. And when my younger brother reached that age he joined the Army, too."

Mr Dickson, who has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression since his brother's murder, said that day changed his life.

Devastated: Roy Dickson
Devastated: Roy Dickson

All these years later, he still recalls it in horrific detail.

"On the day Paul was murdered I was in Warrington where I was living," he added.

"I was at work and I came home and my neighbour said that the police had been at my door. I wondered what it was all about.

"He said that there was a soldier there with them too and at that precise second I knew, I just knew that something had happened to Paul.

"I went to the phonebox around the corner and phoned the police station.

"They told me that I should go home and wait for them.

"I asked the officer to just tell me now.

"I said 'is my brother dead or not' and he said that he was afraid so. I smashed that phone box to pieces.

"A feeling of numbness came over me and it hasn't lifted since, even after all these years.

"I have rarely spoken about this and I think that is why it hurts so much.

"My friend picked me up and we drove back to my family home in Runcorn.

"My step-father handed me a glass of brandy. I was so sad and upset, it was just awful.

"At the funeral I didn't cry until he got his salute by the soldiers firing their guns over his coffin. I broke down then."

Mr Dickson said his life "just went to pieces".

He added: "I took to drink and drugs and I just fell apart.

"I ended up in hospital with mental health issues.

"I locked myself in an attic and set fire to it. I was seriously messed up because of it. I still drink to try and keep the past away. As far as I'm concerned the past can stay where it is."

Mr Dickson said the murder of his brother tore his family and his life apart.

He added: "I don't hate the Irish, I just hate the IRA with a vengeance.

"They totally tore my family apart. The family is fractured now. People can't cope with that level of trauma and it just pulls them apart. I haven't dealt with it very well over the years.

"I just worked and buried my head. I tried to keep busy and not think about it. I have been to counsellors and different things but I have post-traumatic stress disorder and depression and nothing helps. I don't think anyone can help me.

"Even today I worry about walking down the road and a bomb going off, every time I go out."

Mr Dickson said he feels "prison is too good" for those who killed his brother.

He said he would want to "bring back the death penalty".

"I couldn't speak to those who murdered my brother if I met them," he added.

"I would want to hurt them. I'm sorry. I am so angry. I wouldn't speak to them, I'd want to kill them.

"They didn't give my brother a chance to speak, so I wouldn't give them it. They didn't give Pat Gillespie a chance to speak. They are nothing but cowards."

No one was ever caught for Mr Worrall's murder and his brother said that makes him "very angry".

He said: "There is no justice. No one ever served a second in jail and yet my family has served a life sentence.

"They are walking around free without a care in the world and have left us all suffering.

"I would want to see justice.

"I want to see the people who did this in jail.

"But maybe that is too good for them. Jail these days is like a holiday camp.

"I would want to see the return of the death penalty. That is how bitter they have made me. They messed my life up and I will never, ever forgive them.

"I am not a hateful person. I have tried to live my life the best I could, but I always have this hate inside me. That hate was given to me by the people who murdered my brother that night. I have had almost 30 years of hell because of them."

Mr Dickson questioned how those responsible can sleep in their beds at night.

He added: "They are evil, they are bad. They don't deserve any sympathy or niceness.

"I would put them in a room with the people who have been directly affected by what they have done.

"I would put them face-to-face with the mother whose son they killed, the wife whose husband they slaughtered, the daughter whose mother they murdered.

"But they wouldn't come and face people like that, to look them in the eye and listen to their story, without a gun or a bomb.

"The IRA are nothing but cowards."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph