Belfast Telegraph

We forgive our son's killers, says family as two men are quizzed over murder of teen petrol station worker in 1973

BY CLAIRE WILLIAMSON

The family of a Catholic teenager murdered by loyalist paramilitaries 40 years ago say they have forgiven his killers and are praying for them.

The family of Seamus Gilmore (18) – who was shot by the UVF on February 4, 1973 – issued the statement after two men were arrested in Britain in connection with his murder.

Last night, the PSNI released the two, pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

Detectives from the PSNI's Serious Crime Branch had earlier arrested a 59-year-old man in Falkirk, Scotland, and a 61-year-old man in London.

Mr Gilmore was murdered at his work at the Mount Pleasant filling station on the Ballysillan Road in north Belfast.

Two men got out of a hijacked car driven by a third man and fired a number of shots.

The 18-year-old died the next day in hospital.

The murder took place in one of the worst years of the Troubles, when more than 250 people were killed in the violence.

The family of Mr Gilmore said: "We appreciate the efforts of the PSNI which have culminated in these arrests. We have forgiven those who took Seamus' life and we pray for them. Our priority now is our 82-year-old mother and will make no further comment on this matter."

During the inquest into Mr Gilmore's death it was revealed that one of the three involved in the attack was just 14 years old.

In Lost Lives, an authoritative book about those killed in the Troubles, friends described the teenage Mr Gilmore as quiet and only interested in working on his car.

A Protestant man named Robert Burns was shot outside a chip shop in Ballysillan three days before Mr Gilmore was murdered.

The Belfast Telegraph reported at the time: "A man who said he thought the killing was in revenge for the death of Robert Burns outside a chip shop in Ballysillan on Friday night added that Seamus Gilmore and Robert Burns knew each other quite well and spoke to each other."

He said: "It's a tragedy that Robert's death may have been used as the excuse to kill somebody he knew."

Mark Thompson from Relatives For Justice said that the reopening of cases can be hugely traumatic for families.

"There is expectation created when this stuff is in the media and sometimes families are let down by the system," he said.

"There needs to be caution taken in all of this – today a family have said they want privacy and we need to respect that."

PSNI Detective Inspector Chris Wilson said: "Even though Seamus' murder took place more than 40 years ago, I would appeal to anyone who has any information about the shooting or who was involved to contact us."

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