Belfast Telegraph

Martin McGuinness death: I'll never know why my husband was used as human bomb, says Patsy Gillespie widow

By Jonny Bell

A woman whose husband was strapped into a van loaded with explosives and ordered to drive to an Army checkpoint while she and her children were held at gunpoint says the death of Martin McGuinness has robbed her of the truth over why her husband was killed.

Patsy Gillespie, a civilian cook in a Londonderry Army base, was strapped into a van loaded with explosives in October 1990. His family were held hostage and he was forced to drive to Coshquin checkpoint on the Donegal border where the bomb was detonated by remote control.

He died along with five soldiers.

His widow said their captives told them her husband father would be home as they left her house. Moments later they heard the explosion. It was not until a day later a piece of clothing confirmed Mr Gillespie was killed in the blast.

His death was on his eldest son's 18th birthday.

At the time, the IRA said they did not regard the 42-year-old as a civilian but rather as what they called ‘a part of the British war machine’ because he worked at the Army base. Bishop Edward Daly described the incident as one of the worst ever in the history of the Troubles in Derry.

Martin McGuinness always denied being involved in the October 1990 incident, however, his widow Kathleen said she blamed him.

"He said specifically my husband was a legitimate target of war and  I wanted to know why," she told the BBC.

"Never once did I come face to face with Martin McGuinness, I feel robbed of the opportunity to have conversation, I would have liked to have put that question to him.

"I didn't want to fight him, or berate him, I had gone past that stage. I am past all the anger and hurt now, I just wanted for him to explain to me why.

"But that's a part of my life that has gone now. So I have to live with the fact I didn't get the opportunity."

She continued: "I don't know how he could have come to terms with what he did. Did he ever show any remorse?

"There is no forgiveness in my heart. I had to learn to find a way to look after my family. They all turned out great I have five grandchildren and Patsy would have idolised them.

"I don't feel any better Martin McGuinness is dead. I feel sorry for his wife. If she loved him as much as I loved patsy, I know what she is missing.

"Patsy was a great family man. I loved him and all his children missed out. When his daughter was married he should have been there to walk her down the aisle.

"I miss him every day and talk about him every day. We met when I was 16 and I never got to say goodbye the way he was killed. His last words to me were 'don't worry girl I'll be all right'."

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