Northern Ireland news

Family of UDA murder victim vow to continue fight for justice

Joseph McCrystal died on November 13, 1972, a day after he was shot.
Connla Young

THE family of a Catholic man shot dead by loyalists almost 50 years have vowed to continue their fight for justice.

Joseph McCrystal (25) was shot as he returned to his home at Longlands Park in Newtownabbey on November 12, 1972. He died the following day.

The murder has been blamed on the UDA, which was active in the area at the time. No-one has ever been convicted in connection with the murder.

It has also previously been suggested that the secret British army unit known as the Military Reaction Force may have been involved.

His brother Charles was one of three republicans killed in a premature explosion in April 1972.

The circumstances of Joseph McCrystal’s death have been outlined in a new family report published by Relatives for Justice (RFJ).

Figures compiled by RFJ and local residents reveal that 19 people from the Bawnmore area, which is close to where Mr McCrystal lived, were killed during the Troubles and 20 were injured.

The booklet also details the official state response to the murder and how his son Joe was taunted about his father’s death by security forces while growing up.

Joe was four when his father was killed and his sister Donna was aged one. The siblings, who claim the murder was never properly investigated by the then RUC, lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman in 2016.

Mr McCrystal's widow Maureen continues to live in Belfast.

His son Joe last night said: “No one in authority seems to care.

“Our father is just a number to them, but his death is a lifetime of pain to me and my sister.

“We will fight for truth until the grave.

“We will never give up.”

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