Northern Ireland news

Widow who came face to face with notorious killer in RUC line-up tells her story

Margaret Campbell whose husband Pat is believed to have been murdered by the Glenanne Gang.

THE wife of a Glenanne murder victim recalls in a documentary the harrowing moment she came face to face with the man suspected of her husband's killing.

Pat Campbell was gunned down on October 29, 1973 at his home in Banbridge, Co Down.

His wife Margaret had opened the front door to their home at Cline Walk to two men believing they wanted to talk to her trade union husband about a work matter.

The pair then shot the father-of-three nine times. One of the a guns used was stolen from a British Army base in Lurgan the previous year.

Mrs Campbell speaks movingly in the documentary Unquiet Graves about how her then 10-year-old daughter, Donna, held her father's head as his life slipped away.

An outspoken opponent of sectarianism, Mr Campbell was involved in a cross-community amateur boxing club in Banbridge and was president of the Northern Ireland branch of the National Union of Footwear, Leather and Allied Trades.

Read more: Former policeman blows the whistle on murderous Glenanne Gang in new documentary

He was a man of some influence in the mainly Protestant town and the Glenanne Gang was known to target Catholics with social standing, most of whom had no republican connections.

A few weeks after witnessing her husband's death Mrs Campbell said two police officers knocked her door and told her she needed to go to Belfast for an identity parade.

Mrs Campbell said she asked could someone go with her but was told "she'd be better alone".

When she arrived at the station she walked into a room where there was a line up of men - including infamous loyalist killer Robin 'The Jackal' Jackson, one of the men she had opened her front door to just weeks before.

She recalls a door opening and being sent alone into the room.

"I did recognise a face, but I turned and came back", Mrs Campbell said.

"I thought I was going to faint ...I was in a state.

"I was told to compose myself. I was told to go back in and 'put your hand on him'.

"I went back in but I could not touch him, I could not put my hand on him.

"I wanted out and away from where I was and I could not go back in, but I told them where he was," she said.

Jackson was charged with the murder of Mr Campbell but the charges were later dropped when it was decided there was insufficient evidence to secure a conviction.

Jackson, a former UDR soldier thought to have been behind some of the worst atrocities of the Troubles including the the Monaghan bombing in 1974 and the Miami showband massacre in July 1975, died of cancer in June 1998.

Read more: Former policeman blows the whistle on murderous Glenanne Gang in new documentary

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