Belfast Telegraph

Victims' Commissioner Troubles only focus 'discrimination' says murdered pensioners' family

Marjorie and Michael Cawdery (PSNI/PA)
Marjorie and Michael Cawdery (PSNI/PA)

The family of an elderly Co Armagh couple killed in a knife attack have said they feel "discriminated" against as victims.

Michael and Marjorie Cawdery, both aged 83, were killed in their home in 2017 by Thomas McEntee, who had severe mental health issues.

In Northern Ireland, the Victims' Commissioner only deals with Troubles-related cases, while the role in England and Wales covers all victims of crime.

The Cawderys' daughter, Wendy Little, said their family is still traumatised by the killings and it is unfair that victims in Northern Ireland are treated differently to those elsewhere in the UK.

Thomas McEntee
Thomas McEntee

"It's right and proper that there are resources being spent on a victims' commissioner for the Troubles but what about other types of victims?" she told the BBC.

"In the aftermath of everything, our world was turned upside down and I wasn't able to function properly - we didn't know who to turn to.

"It's the same old situation again - why are we being treated differently in Northern Ireland? Victims of all crime need compassion and support for situations that come totally out of the blue."

Michael and Marjorie Cawdery's son-in-law, Charles Little, who witnessed the aftermath of their killing along with his wife Wendy, said they suffered a "psychological assault" as a result and their lives have been changed "beyond recognition".

"A victims' commissioner is meant to provide victims with a voice and, at the minute, victims of non-Troubles crimes don't have one," he added.

"Troubles' victims should be represented but so should other victims - it's discrimination, there is no other word for it."

The department of justice said provides funding for several victims' charities and victims are central to the department's work.

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