Irish Republican News · July 25, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
London shoot-to-kill draws Irish parallels

Irish families have accused British authorities of hypocrisy after police apologised for shooting Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes dead on the London underground.

The 27-year-old electrician was shot in the head five times by police officers on Friday. British police admitted that Mr Menezes was an innocent man.

Witness Mark Whitby said that the Brazilian man had looked “like a cornered rabbit” and “absolutely petrified” before he was shot dead at point blank range.

London police chief Ian Blair apologised to the dead man’s family and described the killing as a “tragedy”.

“The Metropolitan Police accepts full responsibility for this. To the family I can only express my deep regrets,” he said.

But the apology has prompted accusations of “inconsistency” from North Belfast woman Jean McBride, whose son Peter was murdered by British soldiers in 1992. She said that in 13 years since her 18-year-old son Peter was shot dead after being searched, no-one has ever said sorry.

In 1995 the two British soldiers were convicted of murdering the father-of-two and sentenced to life imprisonment. The pair were released in 1998 and were later allowed to continue their careers in the army.

Mrs McBride continues to campaign for justice and may take the case to the European Court.

“My heart goes out to this family because I know exactly what they are going through,” she said.

“I back their efforts to get to the truth about this tragic episode because there are clearly many questions that need answered.”

Mrs McBride said nobody ever offered an apology for Peter’s killing. She described such a gesture as being “worthless” 13 years after the shooting.

“I would much prefer justice to an apology,” she said.

The sister of murdered Tyrone man Aidan McAnespie also said Friday’s shooting had brought back horrific memories of her brother’s murder.

Aidan McAnespie was also shot while going about his everyday life. He was shot as he innocently walked through a Border checkpoint in Aughnacloy on February 21, 1988, on his way to the local football pitch.

Speaking about Friday’s shooting and the subsequent police apology, Mrs McCabe added:

“I’m sure that the man’s family will not be shown the full facts surrounding his death and the police won’t be fully accountable.

“An apology is not much good for the family when that man had five shots fired into his body while he was lying on the ground.

“While that man’s family got an apology straight after the event, we got no inquest into Aidan’s death for five years.

“When the inquest did happen, the soldiers involved were absent on leave so that was very hard for us to take.”

Parallels have also been drawn between Friday’s shooting and the SAS execution of unarmed IRA Volunteers Mairead Farrell, Daniel McCann and Sean Savage in Gibraltar in March 1988.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News