We just want the Truth
Leona Breslin, Andersonstown News | 09 September 2000
The chickens are coming home to roost for the British Government as evidence of British Army and RUC collusion with loyalist death squads continues to emerge. The family of West Belfast man Patrick Hamill, gunned down in his home thirteen years ago this week, are calling for an independent inquiry into his murder. Patrick Hamill's wife Laura says she believes loyalist collusion with British security forces led to the death of her husband, and now she wants the truth to come to light. And with the news that the Stevens Inquiry team uncovered new evidence at Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn, Laura hopes her husband's case is among those due to be reopened and reinvestigated.
Patrick Hamill was 29-years-old when he died. He was the father of two children: two-year-old Kelly, and Catherine, then just 11 months. UDA gunmen burst into his home at Forfar Street off the Springfield Road and shot him at close range in the chest. As Kelly screamed for her daddy, the gunmen shot Patrick in the head.
British Army/UDA double agent Brian Nelson was involved in the planning and execution of the murder. The RUC special branch, MI5, the Force Research Unit (FRU) and the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), answerable to Downing Street, were all aware of the assassination plans.
Patrick's daughter Catherine was to gain worldwide fame when she read out a touching poem about her father at a welcoming ceremony for Bill and Hilary Clinton at Mackies factory in November 1995.
Patrick's thirteenth anniversary is on Saturday. His family want an independent inquiry into his murder in light of a stream of revealtions about security forces collusion with loyalists and after the publication earlier this year of Nicholas Davies' new book, Ten Thirty Three, which describes in uncannily accurate detail the conversations, actions and the scene of the murder. Indeed, the description is so vivid, his wife says, that it is a tale only those close to or actually witnessing the murder could tell.
The Hamill family has welcomed news that the Stevens Investigation into the murder of Pat Finucane has reopened the file on Laura's husband.
"The book tells a sinister tale,"
"In the first chapter the murder of my husband Patrick is highlighted. Only someone very close to the murderers would know the information included in the book.
"The book describes in detail how the two gunmen came to the house, how they told us they were from the Provisional IRA and asked us to identify ourselves.
"The book describes how my husband came out of the kitchen and said that we were the Hamills, how they listened as he said that he was Patrick Hamill and that I was his wife, Laura, and then how they nodded to one another and shot him twice. Our two daughters were there. Kelly was playing on the floor and Catherine was on my knee."
Laura says that there are descrepancies within the book, notably the colour of the getaway car and the claim that Pat had just left the Felons Club, but she says most of the details hit very close to the mark.
"I have no doubt that there was loyalist collusion in my husband's death and that Brian Nelson was involved. In the book Davies says there was a security ring thrown around the area before the murder. I remember that there was a huge security presence in the area on the day of Pat's murder.
"Then they just disappeared and when Pat was shot it took the RUC 50 minutes to travel from Springfield Road Barracks to our house. The ambulance was here in three minutes flat.
"When I read the book, things I recognised things that actually happened. Things started to fall into place like a jigsaw.
"This book is so sinister it is frightening, obviously Davies' sources had a lot of insight into Pat's murder."
Last week the family of Pat Finucane demanded a full independent judicial inquiry into the murder of the human rights solicitor. They called for the full facts of state collusion with loyalist paramilitaries to be made public. Laura says her family will not accept anything less than a full independent inquiry into the murder of Patrick.
"Our family strongly believe that there was collusion in Patrick's murder and we want to know the truth."
Ten Thirty Three, by English author Nicholas Davies, reveals the conspiracy between British Military Intelligence and the gunmen of the UDA who targeted and killed Catholics. It claims the secret partnership was sanctioned at the highest level of the British Government and full details of planned operations, including killings were passed directly to its Joint Intelligence Committee in London.
Ten Thirty Three was the codename given to the agent who was fed all the details necessary for loyalist gunmen to carry out their murderous activities. Ten Thirty Three was the codename used for Brian Nelson. Nicholas Davies says he heard the basic outline of the story for Ten Thirty Three several years ago, but needed to verify and substantiate the facts and details surrounding each and every killing and attack which allegedly involved Brian Nelson. He said that three former members of the British security and intelligence services, with intimate knowledge of the Force Research Unit, agreed to talk to him about their experiences with the organisation. Davies quotes two former soldiers telling how they gave the information used to kill Patrick to British Army double agent Nelson. Two soldiers, reported to be Davies sources, have appeared in court accused of breaking the Official Secrets Act.