The elderly mother of an unarmed IRA Volunteer shot dead by the British Army almost 40 years ago is to sue Britain’s military authorities.
Mary Cleary’s son Peter was the first person to be killed by the British Army’s ‘elite’ SAS during the conflict.
From Belleeks in south Armagh, the 25 year-old was due to be married just weeks after he was shot yards from the border near Forkhill in April 1976. He had been visiting a house owned by the relative of his girlfriend near the border when he was held at gunpoint by an SAS unit.
The SAS patrol fired a shot in the air before going inside and lining up the people in the house. Although he gave a false name, it is believed that Cleary was recognised by the undercover unit.
He was stripped, searched and taken to an outhouse before being executed by the soldiers.
Although the British army claimed he was shot three times when he attempted to overpower his guard, his mother Mary, who is in her eighties, believes he was simply shot dead.
Eyewitnesses in the house at the time were later to claim that notorious SAS captain Robert Nairac was one of the soldiers in the unit.
The Cleary family lawyer Kevin Winters said the circumstances around the killing of their loved one still remains raw because they have fought for years to find out the truth surrounding his death.
He added that in the past compensation for people killed under similar circumstances were “derisory” with no award being made in some cases.
Mr Winters revealed the Clearly family have called on the Six County Attorney General John Larkin to order a new inquest into his death.
“It’s all part of the campaign for justice for Peter because there was never a proper inquest,” he said.
The lawyer said the civil case is being taken by the family “to offset some of the injustice” surrounding the case.
‘STATE SPONSORED MURDER’
The family of another IRA Volunteer shot dead by loyalists are also to sue the British Ministry of Defence as well as the chief of the PSNI police.
Alan Lundy was gunned down by loyalists in collusion with Crown forces at the home of Sinn Fein assembly member Alex Maskey in May 1993.
The father-of five is believed to have been shot by a four-man UDA/UFF death squad belonging to Johnny Adair’s Shankill Road-based ‘C Company’ as he carried out work to improve security at his friend’s west Belfast home.
The weapons used to kill Mr Lundy came from a consignment smuggled into Ireland from South Africa by British agent Brian Nelson, who was a UDA intelligence officer.
Mr Lundy’s family has previously asked the Historical Enquiries Team and Police Ombudsman to investigate the murder.
His son Daniel said his family has “no doubt” there was Crown force collusion in the murder.
“It’s in black and white,” he said. “On the day there was a police and army presence on the street. He was stopped on the day and ‘P checked’. They left the street at 5.45pm and at 6.05pm my daddy was lying dead.
“The UFF killed him but the cops had a big role in it. It was not a couple of rogue cops, it was state-sponsored collusion.”
Mr Lundy believes no-one will ever face charges over his father’s death.
“We want to know the truth, who was behind pulling the trigger, who gave them the go-ahead.
“It’s not just our family, other families also want truth and justice.”
The family’s lawyer, Kevin Winters said the case of Alan Lundy is “linked with many other collusion cases”.
“We have urged the Police Ombudsman to take a thematic approach to this complaint by the Lundy family and have it linked with many other complaints under investigation,” the solicitor said.
Mr Winters also said the civil action has been launched amid calls for a “long overdue enquiry into the source of the weaponry used to kill” Mr Lundy and others.
He said “in the absence of an independent enquiry the families are left with little choice to consider alternatives including civil litigation”.