Belfast Telegraph

Drink-driving OAP 'haunted by IRA killing'

By George Jackson

A pensioner whose brother was murdered by the Provisional IRA more than 40 years ago is still grieving over the circumstances of his brutal death, a court was told.

William Slater (78), from Culmore Point, appeared before Londonderry Magistrates Court yesterday.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of drink-driving along Culmore Road on November 17 of last year.

A Public Prosecution Service solicitor told District Judge Barney McElholm the defendant crashed his car onto the verge of the road.

An ambulance was called and he was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital.

The police suspected that he had been drinking alcohol, and a blood test revealed he was three times over the legal limit.

Slater's solicitor told the court that the incident occurred on the anniversary weekend of the murder of the defendant's brother, and in his grief he went into a local bar and drank alcohol before driving to his nearby home.

His younger brother Hugh was 29 when, together with colleague Leonard Cross (19), he was abducted by the IRA from a bar in the Republic close to the Derry-Donegal border and subsequently murdered.

Both men - who were civilian Ministry of Defence employees working at Ebrington Barracks - were shot in the back of the head.

It is understood the pair, both Protestants, regularly drank in a bar just across the border in Co Donegal despite the risk from republicans because of their employment with the MoD.

Their bodies were dumped in a field beside Sheriff's Road, close to where they had been abducted.

They were murdered on November 12, 1974.

Mr McElholm said he was giving the defendant credit for his early plea of guilty.

He also took into consideration the defendant's previously unblemished record, as well as the circumstances of his offending.

He fined the defendant £50 and disqualified him from driving for 16 months.

Belfast Telegraph


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