Injustice of sentence still weighs on victim’s families


A memorial service is being held this weekend to remember three people murdered in a UVF gun and bomb attack on a north Belfast garage 50 years ago.

The service on the Falls Road is being organised by the family of 16-year-old Anthony McGrady (pictured), who was killed alongside Ronnie and Sean McDonald, two brothers who were in their fifties.

They were all killed in the sectarian attack by the UVF on the Cliftonville Road garage on 25th August 1973.

One man was convicted in connection with the murder. William Crockett was convicted of assisting two others and was sentenced to seven years in 1974. He was released in 1977, despite refusing to name his co-conspirators.

Anthony’s brother Liam told Belfast Media earlier this year that his mother, Anna, confronted Crockett in the courtroom following his conviction.

“You have a conscience and I hope that when your children are 16 years of age they don’t get the death that my child got,” she told the father-of-two.

Mr McGrady also described how the family felt about the sentence for the “assassination of these three people – two innocent men and a 16-year-old boy. This leaves a lot to be said about our judicial system and how biased it was during our troubled times”.

“Here was a 28-year-old loyalist UVF killer who played an active part in three sectarian killings, only getting a seven-year sentence,” Mr McGrady said.

“He was released in 1977, less than a year and a half for each killing.”

“It is a disgrace what my parents, William and Anna, and the wives and families of the two McDonald brothers must have felt. They got a life sentence, as they had to live the rest of their lives on this earth knowing the horrific deaths of Anthony, Ronnie, and Sean.”

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