Irish Republican News · June 11, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Ballymena man played dead
Ballymena man played dead

A Ballymena man has told a court in chilling detail how he played dead to escape being murdered and of having to watch and listen as his would-be sectarian killers plotted to saw up his body.

The 33-year-old Catholic, Michael Reid was giving evidence at the Belfast Crown Court trial of 35-year-old Aaron White, also from Ballymena.

Although White’s 30-year-old brother Neil White was jailed for 16 years after admitting the murder bid on October 11 2003, White himself was not arrested for another two years.

Mr Reid had gone to stay with a friend in a Protestant area after an argument with his girlfriend.

He said Aaron White came into the house with his brother and a third man.

They gave the vicitm a can of beer and began questioning him about who he was and where he lived.

“I told them the truth,” Mr Reid said matter of factly.

He was battered with a “heavy object”, while attempts were made to strangle him before being stabbed with a small kitchen knife.

“I felt really bad, really scared. I didn’t know what was going on and then I began to get stabbed around the side of the neck and shoulder and thought - that’s it!”

Mr Reid, the scars from several knife wounds to his head clearly visible, added: “At this stage I didn’t know if I was going to live or die.

“I continued to struggle but I felt my strength going from me and I was getting dizzy.

“The only option that was going through my head was to play dead and to go limp and maybe they would stop then,” he said.

Mr Reid said that as he was being attacked he was told: “We are going to kill you, you fenian bastard.”

Mr Reid said his attackers still kicked out at him, asking if he was dead, before they stopped.

Playing dead he then listened to his attackers in the hallway deciding “what they were going to do with the body”.

“Aaron White told his brother to stay with me to make sure I was dead, to guard the body while he and the second man went to get a saw to cut me up,” Mr Reid said.

Mr Reid said he then disarmed Neil White before running into the street, naked from the waste up and pouring with blood.

INQUEST ANGUISH

Meanwhile, an inquest has heard that rival unionist paramilitary organisations joined forces in 2001 to brutally murder a Catholic teenager.

Nineteen-year-old Ciaran Cummings was blasted twice with a sawn-off shotgun as he waited for a lift to work at the town’s Greystone Road roundabout.

He tried to flee after being hit by the first bullet, only for a pillion passenger clad in black leathers and white helmet to get off the bike and chase him down.

After he stumbled and fell the gunman pinned him down with his feet and fired again at his head from point-blank range.

PSNI Inspector Frankie Taylor told Belfast Coroner’s Court that four separate statements of responsibility by different unionist paramilitaries followed what he said was a purely sectarian murder.

Two came from the Red Hand Defenders, a cover name used by the UDA, another by the breakaway Orange Volunteers, while a fourth from the Loyalist Volunteer Force denied any involvement but blamed the rival UVF - supposedly under a ceasefire at the time.

The detective said he believed the killing was carried out by the UDA, with support from the mainstream UVF.

Despite nine arrests, no-one has been convicted of the welder’s murder. Evidence has mounted in recent years of deep collusion involving British forces, unionist paramilitaries and double-agents in killings dating up to 2002.

© 2007 Irish Republican News