Northern Ireland news

Family of former soccer star Jimmy Hasty to take legal action over loyalist murder

Jimmy Hasty was shot dead in 1974
Connla Young

The family of a footballer shot dead by loyalists almost 50 years ago are set to launch legal action over his death.

North Belfast man Jimmy Hasty (38) was killed as he walked to work in north Belfast October 1974.

Mr Hasty's widow, Margaret Sheppard, has now launched legal action against the Ministry of Defence, PSNI and Secretary of State.

The father-of-two was well-known on the soccer scene for his skill despite having lost one arm, which was amputated when he was aged 14 after an accident on his first day at work at Jennymount Mill in north Belfast.

Overcoming his disability he went on to have a successful career playing as a centre forward for Dundalk FC in the 1960s, scoring more than 100 goals in six seasons with the club.

He also made history when he was part of the Dundalk squad that became the first Irish team to win away from home in the old European Cup with victory over FC Zurich in 1963.

Mr Hasty, who also played for Newry Town, was shot dead by Protestant Action Force, a cover name for the UVF, as he walked along Brougham Street, close to where Yorkgate shopping centre now stands.

He had been making his way to work at Duncrue Road at the time.

His widow has now launched legal action for damages.

Her solicitor Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, last night said the Hasty family have been let down and suspect collusion in the case.

"All the typical features of collusion exist in this sad case ranging from loss of exhibits through to a basic failure to engage with the next of kin," he said.

"The killers felt confident to wait for at least 15 minutes before the gun attack."

Mr Winters said, for some, the courts offer a final option.

"Like so many families their last hope is accessing the courts where there is a fair playing field," he said.

"And that's precisely why the British government want - to lock up the courts."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news