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Justice has failed me, says woman who survived deadly UVF ambush


Victims of the Troubles, Melanie Anan and Ruth Patterson, with TUV leader Jim Allister, spoke to MLAs at Stormont

Victims of the Troubles, Melanie Anan and Ruth Patterson, with TUV leader Jim Allister, spoke to MLAs at Stormont

Kevin McKearney

Kevin McKearney

Heidi Hazell

Heidi Hazell

Victims of the Troubles, Melanie Anan and Ruth Patterson, with TUV leader Jim Allister, spoke to MLAs at Stormont

A woman who was shot by the UVF as a 10-year-old girl believes she has been left out of the justice process.

Two men working in a butcher shop in the Co Tyrone village of Moy died in the attack on January 3, 1992. Ruth Patterson (33) had been sitting in the front seat of her mother's car when she was struck by a bullet.

She vividly remembers seeing the sparks fly from the barrel of the gun as she was hit.

However, despite bearing the scars and pain from her wounds to this day, she said she feels frozen out by the authorities.

She had to read about the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) report in her local newspaper because she said she was left out of the retrospective investigation.

Mrs Patterson was speaking out for survivors to a packed Senate chamber in Stormont yesterday, during an event to mark European Day for Victims of Terrorism.

This has been marked across Europe every year since the 2004 Islamist bombing in Madrid.

TUV leader Jim Allister said he was surprised when he was first elected as an MLA in 2011 that it was not marked in Stormont and set about organising the first such event in 2012.

It was co-sponsored by UUP leader Mike Nesbitt and SDLP MLA Alban Maguinness, and a minute's silence was observed for all victims of terrorism.

Three women whose lives have been torn apart by acts of terrorism spoke powerfully at yesterday's event about their experiences.

Melanie Anan (41) travelled from Germany to speak about her aunt, Heidi Hazell, who was slain by the IRA outside a British Army base in her homeland on September 2, 1989.

Mrs Anan told the event that she finds it shocking that, in Northern Ireland, convicted terrorists are elected to government.

The murder case has been re-opened by the German authorities and she has now received assurances from the PSNI that they will cooperate and fully support any future investigation.

Meanwhile, Karen McAnerney spoke about her family's search for justice after her brother was killed by the IRA. Businessman Terence McKeever was abducted as he crossed the border on June 16, 1986. She vowed to continue pressing the authorities, both north and south.

But while these women are in communication with the authorities over their loved ones, Mrs Patterson said that, as a survivor, she is left out.

On the fateful day she was shot, she had been set to get a haircut along with her brother and cousin in Moy. As they reached the butcher shop, they had to stop as a car was blocking the road. They watched the gunman flee the shop after killing Kevin McKearney and leaving his uncle Jack fatally wounded.

He then turned on their car.

Mrs Patterson said her mother's quick action in pulling her close to her side may have saved her life.

But she bears the scars and pain to this day.

"The pain physically and mentally was awful, how was I meant to cope with that as a child?" she said. "I feel that survivors are not acknowledged. The HET refused to involve me in their re-investigation because I was not killed or related to either of the men who were killed."

Living with the legacy of troubles

Ruth Patterson was just 10 years old on January 3, 1992 when, on a family trip to the Co Tyrone village of Moy to the hairdressers, she was shot by a UVF gunman.

Kevin McKearney, a 32-year-old butcher, was killed in the attack and his uncle, Jack McKearney, was fatally wounded. As the gunman exited the shop, he fired at the car where Ruth was sitting in the front seat. Her mother pulled her to her side, saving her life but a bullet entered her arms creating four wounds.

Melanie Anan was 16 when her only aunt, Heidi Hazell (26), was shot dead by an IRA gunman wielding a Kalashnikov rifle, on September 2, 1989, as she was parking her car outside a British Army base in West Germany. Heidi was the German wife of British Army soldier, Clive Hazell. The IRA claimed responsibility and, although they said they had believed Heidi was a member of the British Army, they did not apologise for the mistaken identity.

Karen McAnerney's brother Terence McKeever (31) was abducted, tortured and killed by the IRA on June 16, 1986, as he travelled from his home in Dublin to the family business in Armagh.

His body was found close to Cullyhanna by a priest, after being alerted by the IRA, and had been booby trapped with a bomb.

Terence had been married for just three months and had been due to go on honeymoon.

The IRA said they killed him for carrying out electrical engineering work for the RUC.

Belfast Telegraph