PSNI’s handcuffs ‘dug into my bullet wounds’
PSNI’s handcuffs ‘dug into my bullet wounds’


A victim of the Sean Graham bookmakers atrocity has spoken out after he was arrested while he and other relatives laid flowers at a memorial to their loved ones.

Mark Sykes was injured during the 1992 attack, and his 18-year-old brother in law Peter Magee was killed.

Amid a shocking assault on the commemoration by the PSNI on Friday, supposedly over Coronavirus restrictions, one female relative was injured before Mr Sykes was handcuffed and taken away.

He was taken to Musgrave PSNI station and later released. Mr Sykes said the “only thing I had in my hands was flowers that my 3-year-old grand daughter had lain at her uncles memorial.

“When I asked police what they were doing and had they notebooks out at Pitt Park [where a UVF show of strength took place this week], I was told if I swore again I would be arrested,” he said.

“I said this is a f**king disgrace as I walked away.”

Mr Sykes said he was then arrested. “The police then grabbed me and handcuffed me,” he said. “The cuffs were as tight as possible, behind my back.

“The handcuffs were dug in tightly to the bullet wounds I suffered 29 years ago to the day.

“On top of the insult of donating the weapon to shoot me to a museum they have today literally rubbed the steel of their handcuffs as salt in my physical wounds”.

In 2015, an assault rifle used in the massacre was discovered on public display at the Imperial War Museum in London.

Mark Thompson for Relatives for Justice, who works closely with the loved ones of those who died, said policing in the north of Ireland needs to be re-examined.

“What we need is a major rethink on policing,” he said. “We need a Patton style commission mark two.

“On paper it looks fine in terms of accountability but in reality none of it works.”

In February 2019 the publication of a Police Ombudsman report examining the bookmakers murders and a number of other killing carried by of the UDA in south Belfast was stalled after it emerged that information previously undisclosed had been found on PSNI computers.

Relatives of the dead have now called on current ombudsman Marie Anderson to release the results of the investigation.

Bosco Kennedy, whose brother James was the youngest victim, said the murder took its toll on his mother.

“He was the second of five brothers and my mother never got over it, within two years she had died with a broken heart,” he said.

“My father died six years ago in 2015, both of them died without having any justice.

“All we are asking is for the ombudsman’s report to be published.”

Mark Sykes has no doubt there was collusion. Speaking before he was arrested at the commemoration, he said: “Collusion in this case is irrefutable and the Police Ombudsman report must reflect that, she must publish that report now.”

The others to die in the massacre were James Kennedy (15), Christy Doherty (51), William McManus (54) and Jack Duffin (66). Six other people were also injured in the attack.

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