Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Greysteel killer's son fears he will be executed by dissident republicans

The 24-year-old says he has survived three attempts on his life

By Sarah Henderson, Sunday Life

The son of Greysteel killer Stephen Irwin has been told to leave the country by dissident republicans or he will be killed.

But Richard 'Ricky' Mailey told Sunday Life he is staying put despite the threat to his life.

"They told me to leave the country but I'm not leaving; I think it's pure something to do with my dad, I do not know," said Mailey.

"I'm not leaving, it's just daft, whatever happens to me happens. If they're going to kill me they're going to kill me."

He added: "I wasn't even born when Greysteel happened."

The 24-year-old was recently the victim of a murder attempt but survived being shot at point-blank range with a sawn-off shotgun.

"I was attacked with bottles and hammers to the back of the head and before I knew it a masked gunman came out with a sawn-off shotgun and shot me close range in the stomach," he said recalling the murder bid.

"I still have 57 pellets stuck in me."

He is now living at a secret location outside of Belfast after the third attempt on his life.

"I've had to move house, I've lived in 10 different houses. I've been stabbed in the head five times and been assaulted two other times," said Mailey.

"I'm hiding out of the way because of the dissident threat.

"I struggle every day, I have to watch where I'm going, I can't stay anywhere two nights in a row, I need to keep constantly moving.

"I need to watch who I tell where I live, I'm very wary of who knows where I live.

"It's hard, it's very hard."

Mailey said he has no contact with his father, who was sentenced to life in prison for the Greysteel massacre.

"I haven't spoken to him for about five years," he said.

Irwin was initially released from prison in 2000 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement but was taken back to jail to serve the rest of his term in 2005 after slashing a man with a knife.

He was freed in 2013 after an appeal to the Sentencing Review Commissioners.

Mailey also spoke of the lasting mental health effects he suffers due to the repeated attempts on his life.

"I'm a paranoid schizophrenic as it is, I suffer from depression and anxiety, and I do worry that they are about to come.

"Every time I hear a bang or a car door I'm double looking to see who it is, see what they're doing," he said.

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