Belfast Telegraph

Why evil bomber still stalks Brighton

By Lindy McDowell

Patrick Magee, the Brighton bomber, has been invited to Westminster to talk about forgiveness. Presumably, for his part, this will amount to him talking about his own struggle to forgive the victims of that outrage for occasionally invoking our sympathy.

Magee has been befriended by Jo Berry, whose father was killed in the atrocity. Over 30 people were also injured, including, of course, Norman Tebbit and his wife Margaret, who has spent the last 25 years of her life in a wheelchair.

Where Mrs Tebbit embodies the quiet courage and suffering of the tens of thousands of victims of terrorist violence on all sides, Magee represents the unrepentant murderer who, for all his talk, still can't quite let go of the past himself.

What's that about?

It's possible to see, for example, that Jo Berry may have convinced herself that by befriending Magee she's making some personal sense of her father's savage murder.

But why exactly does Magee keep haunting the Brighton anniversaries?

This is a man who planted a device that inflicted misery and heartbreak on a grand scale. It was a savage, indiscriminate massacre.

But you can't help but feel that somewhere deep, deep down, Magee, too, grasps something of how evil and unforgivable that was. And that he haunts Brighton because Brighton haunts him.

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