Belfast Telegraph

Fresh probe into 1981 IRA killing of woman census official

By Donna Deeney

Detectives from the Historical Enquiries Team are to reopen the 30-year-old case of an IRA murder of a census official, the victim’s husband has said.

Joanne Mathers was gunned down as she collected census forms in Londonderry’s Waterside in April, 1981.

After a heartfelt plea for Joanne’s killers to be brought to justice last week, Lowry Mathers said the Historical Enquiries Team

have told him they will look into the killing of the young Bready woman in Anderson Crescent.

Mr Mathers believes a fresh probe may bring to light evidence that could lead to a conviction.

Mr Mathers is expected to meet First Minister Peter Robinson next week and also hopes to meet with Justice Minister David Ford.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Mathers said: “This whole thing could be so easily sorted out if the right person lifts the phone and lets us know the name of those behind Joanne's killing or the name of the people who ordered it.

“From the recent information I have received, that there was blood recovered from the scene that must be from the gunman, and with the developments in forensics and DNA, I am confident that there will be enough to secure a conviction — but we need names as well.”

Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott echoed the call for a new probe and said Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness should be involved in the investigation.

He added: “Like too many families in Northern Ireland, Lowry Mathers and his son Shane have waited too long for some form of justice.

“Certainly, the Deputy First Minister — who has after all admitted to being a very senior member of the IRA in the city of Londonderry — should be in a unique position to be able to shed some light on this case, particularly with regard to who was involved and in what capacity, and who gave the order.”

Foyle MP Mark Durkan welcomed the Historical Enquiries Team’s decision.

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