Northern Ireland news

Unionist MP Robert Bradford killed by IRA remembered in south Belfast

Robert Bradford was killed by the IRA in November 1981
Staff reporter

A UNIONIST MP and a civilian caretaker shot dead by the IRA four decades ago have been remembered at an event attended by their families.

Robert Bradford (40), a former Methodist minister and Orangeman, was one of two men killed by republicans at a community centre in the Finaghy area of south Belfast 40 years ago on Saturday.

Civilian caretaker Kenneth Campbell (29) was also shot dead during the attack.

Mr Bradford's widow Norah and Mr Campbell's brother Roy attended the ceremony in south Belfast on Saturday which also saw UUP leader Doug Beattie and former First Minister David Trimble pay their respects.

Mr Campbell recalled finding his brother dying after the attack.

"A neighbour came to the door asking him to come to the centre," he told the BBC.

"When I got up there, Ken was lying on the ground at the door. I took his arm and the pulse was still beating but after two or three minutes it was gone.

"The kids had to run past my brother's body to get out."

Mr Campbell said he learned little from a 1982 inquest into his brother's death which "was over in half an hour".

A Historical Enquiries Team (HET) report into the murder revealed that the gunmen mistakenly believed Ken Campbell was a police officer and more than 30 people have been arrested as part of the enquiry.

It emerged that a witness identified one of the gunmen from a police photograph but RUC files did not name the suspect so the HET team was unable to say if he had been arrested.

A pistol grip believed to have broken off a gun used by the IRA gang was also recovered and the gun later found, but there were not arrests and no record of finger printing.

It had been rumoured the attack on Mr Bradford was allowed to go ahead to protect an informer but the HET report said: "There was no known intelligence to suggest that he was to be attacked at Finaghy Community Centre on Saturday Nov 14, 1981."

Loyalists responded by carrying out a series of attacks that claimed the lives of three Catholic men.

The case is currently being examined by Operation Kenova, which is investigating the activities of an IRA informer known as Stakeknife".

Speaking before Saturday's ceremony, Mrs Bradford, who has written a book on her experiences, said: "People have had conspiracy theories. I didn't have any evidence. I am not a policeman."

She added she was not concerned about obtaining convictions.

"At this point it's not a priority for me. I leave that to God. Nothing gets past God, he knows exactly who was involved and ultimately they will have to face him.

"I can let that all go. I don't have to carry it. And that is a message of hope."

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