Northern Ireland news

Husband of murdered RUC woman believes IRA attack could have been prevented

Colleen McMurray was killed by the IRA in Newry in 1992
Connla Young

THE husband of an RUC woman killed in an IRA mortar attack nearly 30 years ago believes her death could have been prevented.

Philip McMurray spoke out after Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson said this week the attack that resulted in the death of his wife Colleen could not have been stopped.

Ms McMurray died after the police car she was travelling in was struck by a Mark 12 horizontal mortar fired by the IRA in the Merchant Quays area of Newry in March 1992.

In this week's report Ms Anderson also said that RUC Special Branch failed to disseminate key intelligence to police.

Read More: Police Ombudsman’s report into the murder of RUC woman 30 years ago failed to reveal details of second IRA informer

Ms Anderson confirms that an IRA man referred to as Person A was a Special Branch agent.

Colleen McMurray's sister Marion Russell and her widower Philip McMurray outside the Police Ombudsman's Office yesterday.Picture by Hugh Russell.

He is believed to be Peter Keeley, who is also known as Kevin Fulton.

Person A is believed to have been involved in the development of the ‘flash-initiated’ technology used to trigger the mortar that killed Ms McMurray.

Mr McMurray believes his wife’s life could have been saved.

“If you read the intelligence and you look at the agent who was involved and the skills that he had and the number of incidents that he was involved in prior to Collen’s murder,” he said.

“It actually says in the report if this person had been arrested and processed….in my opinion this would have prevented Collen’s murder.”

Mr McMurray first raised his concerns about the circumstances of his wife’s death in 2004 and since then four separate Police Ombudsmen have overseen the investigation.

A former policeman himself, he feels betrayed by the approach adopted by the organisation.

He spoke of the impact of his wife's death.

“For the last 30 years my life has been put on hold,” he said.

“I have been living at the family home since it happened and to me your life has been put on hold.

“And you have been put through a system where you have to deal with it on a very regular basis.”

Ms McMurray’s sister Marion Russell revealed that her parents, Tommy and Sadie, died within 13 weeks of each other last year.

She said the death of her sister had a huge impact on them.

“I kept in contact with mum and dad over all the years and I do believe that my father did believe that the British establishment was involved and it upset him very deeply,” she said.

“Mammy very rarely spoke about it, she kept things to herself, so did dad, underneath it they were hurting every day.”

Ms Russell said she remains angry.

“I don’t think that anybody’s interested,” she said.

“We have no government, nobody here to help us, to reach out for us.”

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news