Thursday, November 07, 2013





Officer tells of frantic bid to save corporals



RUC officers from west Belfast mobile support unit apprehending two men later convicted of murdering corporals Derek Wood and David Howes.
The dramatic scene was captured by a press photographer on the Andersonstown Road minutes after the horrific murders on March 19, 1988.
RUC officers from west Belfast mobile support unit apprehending two men later convicted of murdering corporals Derek Wood and David Howes. The dramatic scene was captured by a press photographer on the Andersonstown Road minutes after the horrific murders on March 19, 1988.

TWENTY-FIVE years after RUC officers ignored orders in an attempt to rescue two abducted Army corporals, a former constable has spoken for the first time of his role in the incident.
The officer – then a member of the mobile support unit in west Belfast – was on duty at Woodbourne RUC Station while the funeral of IRA man Kevin Brady was taking place in nearby Andersonstown. Brady had been shot and killed by Michael Stone at an IRA funeral in Milltown cemetery three days earlier.
Speaking candidly to the News Letter, the ex-RUC constable revealed how he listened in horror as radio transmissions reported the mourners’ abduction of two men from their car close to Casement Park GAA ground.
As the drama unfolded in a running commentary from an Army helicopter over the scene, the Woodbourne-based officers immediately prepared to crew their vehicles. Within minutes, it had become clear that the two, as yet unknown, men were in mortal danger.
However, the ex-officer claimed they were ordered not to leave the station by senior commanders.
“When we tried to crew up we were told: ‘You’re going nowhere,’” he said.
Risking dismissal for disobeying direct orders, the rebellious officers raced along the Andersonstown Road in two Land Rovers, along with a Land Rover of military escort.
The former member of the specialist mobile support unit — known as The Blues — said the “duty to protect life” came before their orders as tensions reached boiling point at Woodbourne.
On the way to Casement Park, they encountered a black taxi making off from the scene and arrested two men later convicted of the soldiers’ murders.
The ex-RUC constable (pictured above kneeling over one of those arrested) said: “Coming down in the truck (Land Rover), I looked out the side porthole and said ‘stop the truck, there’s [Alex] Murphy in the back of a black taxi.’
“We pulled it over, and I mean literally banged it over to the side of the road. The black taxi itself was the one that had the corporals in it and was taken away by Murphy and [Harry] Maguire.”
Harry Maguire and Alex Murphy were jailed for life for the murder of the two corporals. They were released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
The former officer, who does not wished to be named, said he felt angry, even now, as he recalled how the dramatic police response began with the overheard radio transmissions.
“We had been listening on the radio [at Woodbourne] and could hear them saying ‘they’ve taken them out of the car, and now they’re stripping them, and they’re now going into Casement Park’.
“The next thing we heard was that they’d been thrown over the wall and it was at that point we turned round to our sergeant but he said: ‘Guys, I can’t go anywhere yet.’”
As the constables from The Blues ignored orders and raced out to their Land Rovers, they encountered a more senior officer on the stairs of the station who ordered them back, according to the constable.
“He said to us: ‘You’re going nowhere.’ Those were his exact words.”
The initially hesitant sergeant was to follow his men out of the station when he realised they weren’t for turning back.
Commenting on the encounter with the black taxi, the constable said: “It was ourselves who got them at the time otherwise they were gone. We then drove that taxi back to Springfield Parade for SOCO (Scene of Crime Officer).”
The former officer, who gave evidence at the trial of Murphy and Maguire, said he faced no penalty for his disobedience but felt the truth of what he called “police indecision” on the day of the murders was suppressed.
“There are things about what happened that absolutely haunt me to this day. But at the time we (The Blues) got all the images from the heli-teli and literally hunted them down. We ended up identifying about 30 of those involved in the murders over the period of about a month. That gave us some satisfaction at least,” he said.
“We are still angry about what happened. There’s so much guilt on our minds too. If we had gone when we wanted to go at first ... we would have been there in minutes. We probably wasted about eight or nine minutes in all waiting on permission.”
Dramatic images of The Blues officers arresting Murphy and Maguire on the Andersonstown Road were captured by a photographer from the Today newspaper and appeared in the national press the following day.
http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/regional/officer-tells-of-frantic-bid-to-save-corporals-1-4912475

An even more sickening video of the murders;

 

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sad very sad.

Anonymous said...

ira scum.

GWR said...

As an Ulster veteran, when I saw this episode when it occured. I questioned why the helicopter didn't open fire to help these poor lads.

I knew that the helicopter was told not to open fire.Otherwise they would have 'opened up'.

But now it seems with this latest info, that is just emerging. That all help was stopped by "the higher ups"!

I have the greatest respect for the old RUC having served with them

But I had not heard before, that all help had been ordered to stand down.

The 'higher ups' should be named IMHO.

Who was it that ordered all Army and RUC to stand down ?

According to this story, this shameful episode hasn't yet run it's course over in Northern Ireland.

How those who 'stood down' but were still hearing the ongoing radio and image reports, as they happened, can live with themselves I can not imagine.

Eternal shame!

Anonymous said...


HET nearing probe into IRA murder of corporals
Corporal David Howes who was killed alongside colleague Derek Woods killed at the IRA funeral of Kevin Brady in Andersonstown in 1988.

Corporal David Howes who was killed alongside colleague Derek Woods killed at the IRA funeral of Kevin Brady in Andersonstown in 1988.

Published on the 21 March
2013
08:38

3 comments
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THOSE involved in the brutal murder of corporals Wood and Howes in west Belfast 25 years ago could yet face arrest as the original investigation file nears its reopening date.

The Historical Enquiries Team has been re-examining murder files dating back to 1968 – and is thought to be only months away from focusing on the double murder that shocked the world back in March 1988.

Corporals Derek Wood and David Howes were in plain clothes when they drove into the path of an IRA funeral in west Belfast 25 years ago this week.

Television cameras captured horrific images of the frenzied mourners pulling the two bewildered soldiers from their car before they were viciously beaten and shot dead by the IRA.

Having commenced examining case files from 1968 onwards, it is understood the investigators have now worked their way, in chronological order, as far as 1985.

Due to a general trend downwards in terms of the number of Troubles fatalities since 1972, the progress of HET investigators has tended to be more apparent in recent years. There were 57 untimely deaths in 1985 compared to almost 500 deaths 13 years earlier.

Attached to the PSNI, the HET is re-examining the deaths of over 2,500 people between 1968 and the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998.

Although it answers directly to the chief constable, the HET is an independent unit.

According to the body, it “recognises that the death of a loved one, no matter how long ago, is not an historical event but an ever present source of trauma and upset”, and that it hopes “its reviews and investigations may offer families some measure of resolution”.

Apart from the year the two corporals were murdered in Andersonstown (1988 when 104 people died), the death toll didn’t exceed 100 in a single year for the remainder of the conflict.

Two men were apprehended fleeing from the scene of the shooting near the Casement Park GAA ground and stood trial the following year.

Alex Murphy and Harry Maguire were both jailed for life for the double murder. They were released in 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Around 30 other men were convicted of lesser charges in connection with the brutal killing, but several more could be prosecuted once the HET concludes its reinvestigation.

It is understood that the current funding for the HET is set to run out before there is a chance to re-examine the corporals’ murder case – however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has described their ongoing work as “a priority”.

A spokesperson for the DOJ said: “Whilst discussions continue about the precise source of funding, the HET work is a priority and it is our intention that the work will continue.”
http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/regional/het-nearing-probe-into-ira-murder-of-corporals-1-4919970

Anonymous said...

The Historical Enquiries Team seems soley concerned with investigating incidents involving alleged security forces wrong-doing and/or collusion with loyalist paramilitaries.

These unfortunate soldiers like countless others were sacrificed on the alter of capitulation to the IRA's murder machine.

Adams & the vermin making up the leadership of Sinn Fein should be prosecuted as war criminals and sentenced accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Professor Paul Wilkinson, Frank Kitson and pseudo gangs.

General Frank Kitson first thought up the concept that was later used in the formation of Al Qaeda. He called it the ‘pseudo gang’—a state sponsored group used to advance an agenda, while discrediting the real opposition

http://aangirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2005/09/professor-paul-wilkinson-frank-kitson.html

Anonymous said...

I remember this incident from many years back and watching the video again only brought back memories of how depraved some people can be. There's no justification for this kind of behaviour and regardless of your political views, the perpetrators - and there were many - should forever hang their heads in shame. One can only speculate as to how these people continue to live their lives since this very public display of bestial violence is an insult to all the good people of Northern Ireland

Taggart said...

I remember this incident from many years back and watching the video again only brought back memories of how depraved some people can be. There's no justification for this kind of behaviour and regardless of your political views, the perpetrators - and there were many - should forever hang their heads in shame. One can only speculate as to how these people continue to live their lives since this very public display of bestial violence is an insult to all the good people of Northern Ireland

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