Northern Ireland news

Brother of victim from Sean Graham's bookmakers shooting dies aged 43

The scene of the Sean Graham's bookmakers massacre in February 1992
Connla Young

A SOUTH Belfast man whose twin brother was killed in the Sean Graham’s bookmaker's massacre has died aged 43.

Martin Magee's death has been linked to the "traumatic experiences in his teenage years" from which he never fully recovered.

Hundreds of mourners turned out for his funeral last weekend.

The father-of-two, who was from the Lower Ormeau area, was just 18 when a UDA gang burst into the bookmakers and gunned down five innocent Catholic men in February 1992, including his twin brother Peter.

Mr Magee's passing comes just weeks before the 25th anniversary of the attack will be marked by relatives and friends of those killed. Mr Magee fell unwell over the Christmas period and was admitted to hospital on new year's eve. He died several days later from organ failure.

During his final hours he was surrounded by loved ones including his 85-year-old mother Clara who kept a 36-hour vigil at her son's bedside.

Director of Relatives for Justice Mark Thompson, who has worked closely with survivors and relatives of those killed, said Mr Magee was haunted by his brother's murder.

"Martin was never able to come to terms with Peter’s murder," he said.

"It was too much for this child too, as he was back then. He was a tortured soul ever since and despite best attempts to support him by his family and friends he eventually succumbed to his illness last week."

Murder victim Peter Magee

During his funeral a guard of honour was provided by members of his local GAA club, St Malachy's, as his remains were brought to the church of the same name.

Mr Thompson said that Mr Magee was one of many who continue to be impacted by the Troubles.

"Bereaved relatives across our entire community have died young and prematurely as a direct result of trauma and heartache experienced, which continues to impact today," he said.

"As a society we need to alleviate the burden they carry by properly addressing the past including the financial hardships they also face as a consequence of bereavement. It would also be the most fitting memorial to all those killed."

Relatives and survivors believe that there was security force collusion in the bookies murders.

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