Samuel Marshall Inquest daily summaries

Day 1: 20/3/23

The inquest into the death of Samuel ‘Sam’ Marshall began today, 20 March 2023. The inquest begins more than 32 years after Mr Marshall’s death. County Court Judge Philip Gilpin explained that the inquest will examine the broader circumstances around Mr Marshall’s death. He then expressed his condolences to Mr Marshall’s family, many of whom were present in the courtroom today.

Frank O’Donoghue, Counsel for the Coroner, stated that the inquest will endeavour to present forensic evidence in a way that causes the least possible harm to Mr Marshall’s family.

Mr Marshall was 31 when he was killed yards from Lurgan Police Station on 7 March 1990. The attack was later claimed by the UVF and UFF. Mr Marshall, Tony McCaughey, and Colin Duffy were all obligated to sign bail at the Lurgan police station twice a week. On the night of 7 March 1990 Mr Marshall, Mr Duffy, and Mr McCaughey were walking home after signing bail when they noticed a suspicious vehicle drive past them several times. Two masked men emerged from the vehicle and opened fire. Mr Duffy and Mr McCaughey were able to escape without physical injury, but Mr Marshall died immediately.

The first witness, Dr Jack Crane, confirmed that Mr Marshall died of gunshot wounds consistent with a high-velocity assault or army rifle. Read into the court record were five witness statements relating to the crime scene investigation, transport of Mr Marshall’s body, and maps and photos serving as evidence. Forensic expert Dr Gavin Donnell, who will provide additional information later in the inquest, testified that street furniture is the only notable change in the area’s landscape.

Mr Marshall had been previously detained in Long Kesh from 1976-1982, where he participated in the Blanket Protests and suffered abuse by prison officials. His eldest brother John described him as a focal point for the community and a good man.

Weeks before his death, Mr Marshall was the subject of an anonymous death threat, and Mr Duffy suspected that he, Mr Marshall, and Mr McCaughey were under surveillance by either the RUC or British Military.

Day 2: 21/3/23

The inquest into Sam Marshall’s death continued for a second day.

The first witness, Mr Brian Hunter, was a taxi driver who owned the car that was stolen and then used in the attack that killed Mr Marshall. On 6 March 1990 three men in balaclavas forced their way into Mr Hunter’s home, injuring his wife in the process. One man carried a gun and all three spoke with a Belfast-area accent. One of the unarmed men mentioned ‘the Provo,’ a possible reference to Mr Marshall. After holding Mr Hunter’s family hostage for 40 minutest, the armed gunman instructed Mr Hunter not to call the police right away and then fled the scene.

The second witness, Mrs Teresa McGuiness, lived near the area where Mr Marshall was killed. On 7 March 1990, the date of Mr Marshall’s death, Mrs McGuiness heard loud bangs outside her house around 7:30 pm. Thinking her daughters and their friend were making noise, she opened the door and realized the sound was continuous gunfire. She couldn’t see who was shooting or from where. Mrs McGuinness got the young children safely into the house. When the shooting stopped, Mrs McGuinness went outside and saw a man lying at the top of the street. She was told it was Sam Marshall, who had been shot and killed. Mrs McGuinness’s youngest daughter later told her that she saw a motorbike at the top of the road during the incident, but the RUC never contacted Mrs McGuinness after her initial statement she did not report the information. Both of her young daughters were badly affected by the traumatic events.

Two statements were read into the record, recounting neighbours hearing gunshots and diving to the floor for safety.

The third witness, Ian Ingram, was driving home from work on 7 March 1990 when he saw a burning Rover on the hard shoulder of the M1 motorway. Two cars were parked close to the Rover before they drove away. The car was later found to be the Rover used in the ambush that killed Mr Marshall.

A statement from Teresa Devlin was also read into the record. Mrs Devlin owned a red Rover whose plates were fraudulently copied. The Rover used in the attack was Mr Hunter’s car with Mrs Devlin’s fraudulently copied plates.

The final witness, Nilsa McGuinness, appeared via video link. On 7 March 1990 Nilsa was playing with her sister and their friend Louise when they became aware of shooting. Ms McGuiness was 5 years old at the time and does not remember much about the incident. However, she does remember seeing a motorbike in front of a parked car. Both occupants of the motorbike had covered faces, and Ms McGuinness recalls the motorbike passenger shooting a gun. She does not remember any details about the car or motorbike and did not see anyone struck by bullets.

Day 3: 22/3/23

Today, 22 March 2023, concluded the first tranche of evidence in the inquest into Sam Marshall’s death.

The first witness, Mrs Anna Breen, is the mother of Louise Connolly (nee Breen), who was 7 years old at the time of the events of 7 March 1990. Ms Connolly was playing outside with neighbours when, around 7:30 pm, Mrs Breen heard loud bangs outside. She opened the door to find her daughter and saw a gunman standing at the junction of Kilmaine and North Streets before she was forced back into her house to avoid the gunfire. When the shooting stopped Mrs Breen found her daughter safe at their neighbours’ house.

Alluding to the lack of urgency on the part of the gunman, Mr Hutton, Counsel for the Marshall family, noted that the length of the continuous gunfire in such a residential area must have been shocking considering the RUC station located only ½ mile away. Mr Hutton also highlighted the noticeable absence of any description of the gunman in Mrs Breen’s police statement, and Mrs Breen doesn’t remember the police having any interest in obtaining such details. Throughout the questioning Mrs Breen recalled being in a state of ‘pure panic’ and ‘in shock’ as she tried to find her daughter during the attack.

The second witness was Louise Connolly, daughter of Mrs Breen. Even 33 years later Mrs Connolly has vivid memories from that evening. Mrs Connolly was playing outside with her friends Aisling and Neilsa McGuinness when she noticed two motorbikes and two people in the street. Shortly after, the girls were walking home when they heard loud bangs. At the time they were too young to recognise the noises as gunshots but still hid behind a parked car. They remained hidden until Mrs McGuinness called the girls into a house, where they lay on the ground until the gunfire ceased. Mrs Connolly remarked that if she witnessed a similar event now, she would receive counselling and emotional support as an adult; but at the time of the event, that ‘just wasn’t done.’

Aisling France (nee McGuinness) was the third witness. Mrs France also recalled the events described by Mrs Connolly. Mrs France added that her younger sister Neilsa was so affected by the incident that she had to sleep in Mrs France’s bedroom because she could not sleep alone.

Patrick Anderson, a railway crossing keeper at Lake Street crossing in Lurgan, was the fourth witness. On 7 March 1990 he recalls hearing shooting around 7:36 pm. Seconds later he saw a red Rover ‘flying’ around the corner and through the railway crossing. The Rover seemed to be speeding away from the Kilwilkie area. A young man ran up to Mr Anderson, asking if he had seen the three masked gunmen in the car. Mr Anderson had only been able to see three dark figures in the car. Mere seconds after the Rover sped through the crossing, the gates were closed for an approaching train’s regularly scheduled crossing. This effectively blocked any cars or pedestrians from pursuing the red Rover. Upon reflection, the timing of the shooting and train imply to Mr Anderson it was planned.

The fifth witness, Kenneth McCarroll, witnessed a car burning on the M1 motorway around 8:15 pm on 7 March 1990. When he first arrived on the scene, there was a small fire near the car’s dashboard and two people stood only feet away from the car. Both wore dark winter clothes. The individuals walked casually to a small hatchback before driving away at a normal speed, seemingly unconcerned about being caught by police at the scene. Police arrived after the individuals drove away. Officers took Mr McCarroll’s statement three days later and did not follow up. Mr Hutton noted that this behaviour is at direct odds with an internal police order instructing specific officers to interview Mr McCarroll in more detail.

The final four witness statements were read into the record. Between 7:30 and 7:45 pm, Thomas Flevill recalls hearing shots as he exited St Peter’s GAA Club. He saw two masked gunmen in the street, shooting a ‘spray’ of bullets. Both gunmen wore dark clothing. As soon as they stopped shooting, the men ran to a red car parked outside of St Peter’s. The gunmen entered the front and rear passenger doors and the car sped off immediately, indicating that a driver had been waiting in the car. Mr Flevill tried to follow the red vehicle but was stopped at the Lake Street railroad crossing, where the gates were closed only seconds after the red car sped across the tracks.

The final witness statements included another witness to the burning Rover on the motorway and the responding Leading Fire Officer.

The Coroner expects the second tranche of evidence to begin in autumn 2023, with a preliminary hearing for principal parties on 21 June.

Samuel Marshall Inquest (Detailed Notes)

Major Parties Involved

Legal representatives/actors

  • Coroner: Judge Philip Gilpin (county judge)
  • Counsel for Coroner: Frank O’Donoghue (senior counsel) and Philip Henry (junior counsel)
  • Counsel for MoD/PSNI: Mark Robinson (senior counsel) and John Rafferty (junior counsel)
  • Counsel for Marshall family: Fearghal Shiels (solicitor), Desmond Hutton (senior counsel), and Malachy McGowan (junior counsel)
  • Counsel for Colin Duffy: Gavin Booth (solicitor) and Jude Bunting (senior counsel)

Family members

  • Victim: Samuel ‘Sam’ James Marshall
  • Survivors: Colin Duffy, Tony McCaughey (also Sam’s brother-in-law)
  • Brother: John Marshall
  • Sister: Linda Hewitt

Tranche 1

Day 1: 20/3/2023


Coroner introduction

  • First tranche: scheduled for this week, then will adjourn before next tranche to hear further evidence.
  • Introduction to inquest: inquisitory (so neither civil nor criminal proceedings)
  • Three of four inquest questions (who, when, and where) already answered; so this will answer the how. Because it must be Art. 2 compliant, may likely include the broader circumstances of the death#

Frank O’Donoghue introduction:

  • Findings will be based only on evidence presented to inquest.
  • Sam Marshall basic details:
    • DOB: 18/9/1958
    • DOD: 7/3/1990 (shortly after 7 PM, on Kilmaine Street in Lurgan)
    • Occupation: Labourer
    • Address at time of death: Kilwilkie Estate, Craigavon BT67, lived with parents.
  • General circumstances around death:
    • 2/1/90 – Colin Duffy, Sam Marshall, and Tony McCaughey arrested for alleged possession of ammunition.
    • 5/1/90 – Sent to special court, where they were charged and remanded into custody
    • 1/2/90 – Sam and Colin released on bail, condition to sign the bail release forms two times per week (7:30 pm Wednesdays and 2:30 pm Saturdays) at Lurgan Police Station.
    • 2/3/90 – Tony released on same terms.
    • 3/2/90 – Colin and Sam’s first bail sign-in.
      • Colin Duffy usually went with Sam to the bail sign-ins and always varied their route
    • 13/2/90 – Anonymous threat called into Portadown police station naming 6 men (including Sam) who would be killed the next weekend (16/2/90-18/2/90)
      • Same day at approx. 10:25 pm, information about the threat was passed to Lurgan police. No evidence showing that Sam was informed of the threat issued against him.
      • z20/2/90 – Colin and Sam were walking together. About 30 minutes later Colin noticed a wine-coloured Maestro with one male occupant and believed the vehicle was surveillance by either the RUC or military
        • Same day at Marshall house, RUC informed Sam’s mother (Sam wasn’t home at the time) of the threat against Sam’s life. This was 16 days after the threat was issued and two weeks after the weekend the threat was supposed to be enacted.
      • 2/3/90 – Sam called Lurgan police and asked to speak with the inspector about the threat.
      • 6/3/90 – around 11:45 am Colin became aware of a Cavalier with 3 male occupants following him in the Lurgan area. Throughout the day he noticed the same car, along with multiple other cars, following him (implication that he believed he was being followed or was under observation).
        • Around 7pm that evening a red Rover, plate WIJ2349, was stolen from the home of taxi driver Brian Graham. Driver reported that around 7:20 there was a knock on the door. 3 masked men, one carrying a gun, pushed into the house and hit the taxi driver’s wife. The men announced that they were UVF and ‘after the car.’ The man with the gun took the keys and held the family hostage that night. Later, Victor Graham admitted to involvement in this carjacking.
      • 7/3/90 (date of Sam Marshall’s death)
        • Around 7:05 pm Colin left his house to meet Sam at the Marshall house before walking together to sign bail.
        • Around 7:30 pm Tony joined Colin and Sam, and the three walked together to the Lurgan police station. They arrived at the station at or around 7:30 pm.
        • Colin, Sam, and Tony signed and left the station immediately, walking up North Street toward Kilwilkie Estate on the right side of the road. They saw a red Maestro emerge from Ulster Street, heading toward town. They also saw a maroon Rover with 662 in the registration plate. The Rover had 3 occupants and was headed into town. They saw the car again, this time going countrywards (away from town). They found the second pass suspicious (thought maybe RUC or Military). Colin, Sam, and Tony walked up to the bend in the road and saw the Rover parked about 10 yards past the mouth of Kilmaine Street. Colin, Sam, and Tony crossed the road to get distance from parked car.
          • The Rover’s plate was false and the car was the maroon Rover stolen from the taxi driver on 6/3/90. The plate number was real, belonging to a different maroon Rover (though owner was excluded from the investigation early).
        • When they crossed the road the front and rear passenger doors of the Rover opened and two masked men exited the vehicle. They lifted guns and Colin, Sam, and Tony ran. Sam and Colin were running up Kilmaine when Colin noticed Sam was no longer with him. Colin ran to the footbridge, where he stayed for about 30 seconds. When he heard the shooting stop he went back and saw Sam laying on the ground. Tony ran back up North Street toward the town centre and took refuge in a house.
        • Emergency services arrived (police arrived around 7:45 pm even though this all happened yards from the station). Scene of Crime arrived and Sam was dead at the scene.
        • 8:10-8:18 pm – Forensic doctor on scene, Sam pronounced dead at 8:12 pm and had 3 injuries to his head.
          • Bullets and fragments found in Sam’s body were from a high velocity weapon and the majority of the wounds were on the right side of Sam’s body.
        • Police began investigation into killing. They found the Rover burned out on the M1 motorway. The car was treated as the scene of a crime and forensic examination found a bullet magazine.
        • UVF sent an uncoded message of responsibility to radio station, Cool FM, and UFF sent a coded claim of responsibility a couple of days later.
        • The investigation included Victor Graham (mentioned above in relation to carjacking). One other person was convicted, but not of murder.
        • 23/6/92 – Victor Graham convicted of 32 offences, from murder (including murder of Sam Marshall) to unlawful possession of documents.
          • Conviction was based solely on confessional evidence. Graham contested (and ultimately appealed) admissibility of the confession, arguing that it was obtained through RUC deception, but never challenged the veracity of the declaration itself. All of Graham’s challenges and appeals were unsuccessful.
        • This module of the inquest will be ‘evidence of scene-setting nature, together with pathology evidence.’

John Marshall (brother) pen portrait of Sam Marshall

  • Sam was the 3rd eldest of 7 children: four boys and three girls.
  • As a child Sam had many pets and was described as a good wee character.
  • 3/3/76 – arrested, held in Long Kesh, where he participated in the Blanket Protests. Sam also reported suffering beatings and strip searches by prison officials before he was released in 1982.
  • Upon release, joined Republican politics and became a focal point for the local community.
  • Wants an investigation to find out what happened.

BBC News Footage

  • Footage seems to have run the day after the incident.
  • People living on the street heard shots, and one witness to the incident said that they shot Sam multiple times.
  • Allegations of collusion raised immediately, call for Stevens investigation.

Pathology Evidence

O’Donoghue noted that they would only read the conclusion of the autopsy and related reports, as they wanted to be sensitive to the family’s presence at the inquest. If further information is necessary they will reassess at that time and determine how best to do that.

Witness: Dr Jack Crane (professor)

  • Coroner office requested report from Dr Crane – supplied with various sources (including the original autopsy report from Dr Carson, witness statements, photos, and forensic materials)
  • No major differences to Dr Carson’s original conclusion that death was result of GSW
    • Several bullets or major bullet fragments from high velocity weapons. Wounds too ragged to determine if they were entrance or exit wounds but the majority of injuries were on the R side of Sam’s body
    • Damage from GSW to head would have caused immediate collapse and rapid death
    • Also had injuries in right shoulder, upper arm, and chest, but none in the chest cavity
  • In photos of the scene of the crime, Sam looked to be on his back (covered at least partially by cloth material but determined by positioning of his feet), but at some point had to be lying face-down when some of the bullet wounds were received
  • Dr Crane conclusion: death due to GSW
    • Bullet wound near right ear, would have caused immediate collapse and rapid death
      • Bullet fragmented, one portion exiting through the top of his head and one through the right orbital
    • Also some fragments in abdominal cavity
    • Some injuries (including GSWs to lower back) must have been received when Sam’s body was laying face-down on the ground
    • Injuries consistent with injuries from high-velocity weapons such as military or assault rifles

Witness (Rule 17 – statement read into record): JP McConnell

  • Forensic medical officer
  • Statement from 8/3/90 – At scene on night of death, determined instantaneous death from head wound

Witness (Rule 17 – statement read into record): John McLarnon

  • Funeral director
  • Picked up body and took it to funeral home where it was received by employee

Witness (Rule 17 – statement read into record): Reserve Constable Wilfred Weathers

  • Accompanied John McLarnon to transport body

Witness (Rule 17 – statement read into record): Robert Henry Anderson

  • Confirmed/proved maps being used as evidence

Witness (Rule 17 – statement read into record): Ashleigh (spelling?) Middleton

  • Confirmed/proved photos being used as evidence

Witness: Dr Gavin Dunn

  • Forensic engineer/expert – will give more information/reports during the inquest, so this will be considered report number 1
    • Asked to prepare report into event and took extensive photos of the whole area of interest
    • Changes in the landscape of the area, but only in street furniture


Day 2: 21/3/23

Witness: Brian Hunter

  • Owner of the car stolen 6/3/90 (night before Sam Marshall’s death)
  • Men in balaclavas entered the house, one carrying a gun
  • All three men spoke with a ‘local’ (Belfast) accent
  • One of the men talked about ‘the Provo’ (singular ‘Provo,’ not plural)
  • Instructed Brian not to ring the police right away
  • Counsel for the family asked witness to comment on the men’s demeanour given that they told Mr Hunter he was not to contact the police after five minutes but could do so after 10. This seemed a remarkably short period and suggests an unusual confidence that they wouldn’t be caught.

Witness: Mrs Teresa McGuinness

  • At the time lived in Kilmaine Street
  • Statement taken 8/3/90:
    • 7/3/90 – around 7:30 or 7:45 pm she heard loud banging outside and thought it was the kids (two daughters and daughters’ friend) banging on a corrugated iron gate. Went outside into the street and saw a man running down the street. Saw sparks where bullets hit the post of the corrugated gate
    • Got the kids, who had been hiding behind a car, to safety by getting them into the house
  • Statement taken 8/3/23 (requested by Coroner to provide statement)
    • Around 7:30 on 7/3/90, she heard banging outside while she was watching Coronation Street. She thought it was the kids banging on the corrugated gate in the yard
    • She opened the door and shots were still ringing out. Couldn’t see who was shooting or from where
    • Two daughters (5 years old and 8 years old) were hiding behind a car with their friend
    • Saw a man running down the street and recognised him as Colin Duffy – he was well known in Lurgan
    • At one point she grabbed Colin Duffy and said ‘Don’t you know there’s children playing in the street?’ and Colin replied ‘It’s the other ones shooting at us.’ During the interaction there was continuous shooting.
    • She got the kids and threw them into the house
    • Shortly after the shooting stopped, she saw people coming out onto the street and saw a man lying at the top of the street. She was told it was Sam Marshall, who had been shot and killed.
    • The next day (8/3/90) the RUC went door to door and took statements.
    • The day after that she noticed a bullet hole in her doorframe. She never heard from the RUC again so she never informed them of the bullet hole.
    • One daughter told her she saw a motorbike at the top of the road during the shooting. She didn’t report to the RUC because, as said above, she didn’t hear from them again after first statement.
    • Both daughters were badly affected by the events
    • Teresa didn’t see a car, motorbike, or gunman.

Witness: Bridget Cooper (Read in under Rule 17)

  • Statement date: 20/3/90
    • On 7/3/90 she was in her house when she heard shooting. She laid down on the ground with her daughter and Christine Henderson, hurting her thumb in the process of getting down
      • The next day she saw that bullets had struck her house
    • On the date of the statement she was still having trouble with her nerves

Witness: Christine Ann Henderson (Read in under Rule 17)

  • Statement date: 20/3/90
    • Around 6:30 pm she went to Bridget Cooper’s house
    • Around 7:30 pm they were about to leave for a dance class when they heard loud bangs outside
    • Mrs Cooper threw Christine on the floor and laid down on top of her
    • Christine stayed with the Coopers until her older brothers came to pick her up. She was sick when she got home

Witness: Ian Ingram

  • On 7/3/90 Ian was working late. He left work around 7:55 to head home on the M1 motorway
  • While he was driving he came across a Rover on the hard shoulder. The Rover was engulfed in flames, both inside and out. Two other cars were parked in front of the Rover, one ‘perilously close’ to the burning Rover. At some point he saw both cars drive away. He doesn’t remember either car having lights on and couldn’t see any of the occupants.
  • Ian found a motorway phone. Two girls were already there phoning emergency services about the burning car. He waited with the girls at the phone until the police arrived and took his information
  • At that point he had no idea the car was related to Sam Marshall’s death – didn’t know anything about Sam’s death at all
  • Police took his information and came to his house at a later date to make his statement
  • Counsel of the next of kin commented on how slowly the two cars connected to the burning vehicle drove away. Once again, it seemed as though the people who had carried out the operation were remarkably calm, and confident they would not be caught. There was no sudden acceleration to get away from the scene of the crime. The witness had no comment on this.

Witness: Theresa Devlin (Read in under Rule 17)

  • Theresa was the owner of a red Rover (*not included in statement, but for background information: her car had the real registration plate that was duplicated and used on the Rover used in the attack)
  • Neither her plates not her car were ever stolen

Witness: Neilsa McGuinness (via video link)

  • On 7/3/90 she was outside playing with her sister and their friend Louise
  • Neilsa saw a motorbike with two people: the one in the front was driving and the one in the back was shooting. There was also a car behind the motorbike.
  • She was 5 years old at the time of the incident so doesn’t remember much. She does remember:
    • Seeing 1 or 2 men running down Kilmaine Street from North Street. The men were shouting at each other. Doesn’t remember what they said or what accents they had
    • Seeing a motorbike with two people on it. The rear passenger was shooting into Kilmaine Street. She doesn’t know what they were firing at, the direction the bike was facing, anything about the weapon, or what the motorbike occupants were wearing. Only remembers they had their faces covered,
    • Seeing a car behind the motorbike. The car was on North Street. Doesn’t remember anything about the car
  • She didn’t see anyone struck by bullets and does not remember seeing Colin Duffy or Sam Marshall (she didn’t know who they were at the time)

Day 3: 22/3/23

Witness: Anna Breen

  • Mother of Louise Connolly (nee Breen), who was playing with the McGuinness girls on Kilmaine Street during ambush
  • Doesn’t remember as much now as she did when her first statement was taken by police in 1990
  • 7/3/90 – At home while daughter Louise was outside playing with neighbours Aisling and Neilsa McGuinness
    • Shortly after 7:30 pm heard loud bang outside (‘terrible noise’), ran to front door to get Louise and make sure she was OK
    • Opened the door and saw flashes hitting the street, then saw a man standing at the top of the street (near North Street) shooting into the street. Now doesn’t remember any details about the gunman. When she noticed the shooting she yelled, ‘The children! The children!’
      • Doesn’t remember seeing any vehicles or motorbikes but she was in ‘pure panic’ because she didn’t know where her daughter was.
    • Something hit the doorstep and broke the tile so Anna had to step back into the hallway until the shooting stopped. Shooting was continuous for about 5 minutes.
    • Left the house to find Louise, who was safe at the McGuinness house
    • People were standing in the street shouting that someone had been shot
    • Anna and Louise were both uninjured and ‘lucky to be so.’ She’s not sure about the sequence/details of some things because she was in shock and was only worried about finding her daughter.
  • Hutton cross-examination
    • Questions and cross-examination framed to be sensitive to the trauma and fear of not knowing where her daughter was during the shooting
    • Occurred in a residential area about ½ mile from the RUC station
    • At no point did Anna tell the police anything untrue. While making her first statement, details were much clearer because they were fresher in her mind
    • Shooting seemed to last about 5 minutes – seemed like they had all the time in the world, considering they were so close to the police station while they were shooting into the street
    • Statement taken by police doesn’t have information lawyers usually expect to see in such statements. Noticeably absent: any details about or description of gunman or a statement stating that details couldn’t be recalled. You’d think police would want all the information possible to identify gunman.
      • Anna doesn’t remember the police having any interest in getting a description of the gunman she saw.
    • Daughter Louise was in a state that night and for several days after. Anna didn’t question or push Louise about the events because she wanted to protect her daughter from further trauma. ‘All I was concerned about is that she was alright.’
  • Rafferty cross-examination:
    • Statement taken by police in Anna’s home. Doesn’t remember if statement was taken by police asking specific questions or by asking her to recount the events in one go. ‘My head was all over the place.’

Witness: Louise Connolly (nee Breen)

  • Anna Breen’s daughter. Aged 7 yrs and 9 mo on date of incident. Still has very vivid memory from events.
  • 7/3/90 – Playing with Aisling and Neilsa McGuinness outside of 15 Kilmaine Street
    • Nilsa had fallen and hurt her knee so they started walking to take her back to her house.
    • Louise noticed a black shiny visor on a helmet and saw two people and two motorbikes. In the moment she didn’t think it was anything special – this was before shooting started.
    • While crossing the street they heard loud bangs and ran over to hide behind a parked car. The car was a barrier between the girls and North Street.
    • Shooting seemed to go on ‘forever’ – doesn’t remember exactly how long (could have been seconds or minutes but definitely not hours). Shooting was continuous.
    • Mrs McGuinness saw the girls and shouted at them to get into the house.
  • Very affected by events. If it had happened now she would have received counselling and support. But back then it just wasn’t done – you didn’t talk about it.
  • Hutton cross-examination:
    • Noticed men on bikes before any shooting started
    • Didn’t know when noises started that it was gunfire – ‘I was 7. I had never heard a shot before.’
    • Lost a shoe while running from the car to the McGuinness house. Louise and Aisling were screaming at Neilsa because she went back to get the shoe before going into the house.
    • While in the McGuinness house, Mrs McGuinness made the girls lay on the floor until the shooting stopped.

Witness: Aisling France (nee McGuinness)

  • Daughter of Teresa McGuinness. Aged 8 years and 2 mo on date of incident.
  • 7/3/90 – playing in the street with sister Nilsa and friend Louise.
    • Nilsa had hurt her knee so they were walking to take her home. They crossed the street and heard loud bangs (didn’t know at the time they were gunshots). Ran toward parked car and hid.
    • Heard her mum shouting at the girls to get in the house. When they got inside, mum made the girls lay on the ground until shooting stopped.
    • Sister Neilsa was very affected. She wouldn’t sleep on her own for a while – came into Aisling’s room to sleep. They never talked about it.
    • Told her mum about the events but doesn’t remember what she said
    • Doesn’t remember if she saw a gunman or anyone running down the street.
  • Hutton cross-examination
    • Remembers Louise lost the shoe and Neilsa went back to get it.
    • Shooting went on for a while – no idea how long but it was continuous shooting
    • Neilsa said she saw motorbikes but Aisling has no memory of any of that.

Witness: Patrick Atkinson

  • Railway crossing keeper at Lake Street rail crossing in Lurgan
  • 7/3/90 – Started work at about 2:30 pm.
    • Stationed alone in a small shelter. Job was to listen for beeper alert that train was approaching. When beeper went off, had to manually close gates around the train tracks so no pedestrians or vehicles could get through. Then after the train passed, had to re-open gates.
    • At about 7:36 pm heard shooting and saw a red Rover with three occupants ‘flying’ around the corner and over the crossing. Couldn’t see much – just 1 figure in driver’s seat, one in front passenger seat, and 1 in the back. The car caught his attention because of its high speed.
      • Car then turned left onto Victoria Street, driving quickly away from the Kilwilkie area.
    • Young fellow approached Patrick and asked, ‘Did you see that? There were 3 masked gunmen in the car.’
    • Seconds after the Rover flew through the crossing the beeper went off and Patrick closed the gates, blocking pedestrian and vehicles from going through the crossing after the Rover. This was about 7:38 pm.
  • Hutton cross-examination:
    • Car flew through open gates seconds after Patrick heard shooting, and just seconds before the beeper indicated an incoming train. This timing closed the Rover’s route and made it impossible for anyone to have followed the Rover through the crossing.
      • After the fact, timing gave the impression that it had been planned. It was the regular time for the train crossing and there wasn’t another crossing until about 1 hour later.
    • Shelter gave Patrick a view of the Lake Street/Victoria Street junction. He would have noticed if another car had been waiting. Definitely would have noticed if another car had done a U-turn with screeching tyres. Didn’t notice this.
      • Nobody in the investigation asked him about seeing anything like this.

Witness: Kenneth McCarroll

  • Police statement taken 10/3/90, 3 days after incident.
  • On 7/3/90 Kenneth went to collect his sone from Hillsborough. On the way back he saw flames coming from the M1 motorway. He turned around and returned to the bridge overlooking the motorway. Beneath him was a car on fire – flames just in dashboard area. Flames grew as he watched. Thinks he arrived at the bridge about 8:15 pm and that he was at the scene 5-10 min total. There was no lighting on the motorway in that area and it was dark.
    • Saw 2 people in standing very near the car – feet away. They were wearing dark, heavy winter clothing. Seconds later they walked away from the car and got into a small hatchback car. Didn’t see what seats they got into in the car and couldn’t see details about the hatchback. Didn’t seem at all concerned about any occupants of the car that was on fire.
    • The hatchback drove away from the burning car at a very normal speed.
    • Saw a motorway police vehicle park briefly behind the vehicle that was on fire. Police officers came up and spoke with Kenneth and his son, who had been with him the whole time.
  • Was concerned that there had been a car accident and that there may be occupants in the care while it was on fire. But the people near the car seemed unconcerned so he was not as worried and figured it seemed like a very unusual traffic incident.
  • Hutton cross-examination:
    • Two people near burning car walked and drove away so casually that it seemed like a ‘misadventure’ and didn’t look like anything illegal had happened.
    • Kenneth only noticed the police at the scene taking down his contact information – no information about what he had just seen.
    • Statement was dated 10/3/90 – 3 days after police at the scene took Kenneth’s contact information. Police only visited once – the day 2 detectives came to the house and took the statement.
    • Statement was reported by an officer Kinnersley. There was no follow-up. Unusual because one of the case documents is a police action document – a missive from superior officers. The action document had instructions for Kinnersley to interview Kenneth on 11/3/90. However, the officer never spoke to him again.

Witness: Thomas Flevill (Read in under Rule 17)

  • Statement taken by Stephen Walker
  • 7/3/90 – around 7:30 pm left his house to go cash a cheque at St Peter’s GAA Club
  • Left St Peters around 7:45 pm. Heard what he thought was a car backfiring but saw that it was actually shooting. Two gunmen in the middle of the junction were spraying bullets.
  • Gunmen ran down to a red car parked outside St Peter’s. Got into the front and rear passenger side, respectively, and the car left immediately. Must have been a driver.
  • Thomas got in his car and tried to follow the red car but got to the rail crossing at Lake Street just as gates were closing so he couldn’t follow them.
  • Couldn’t ID the gunmen but both were in masks and dark clothing. Doesn’t think the car was outside St Peter’s when Thomas entered.

Witness: Trevor McCormack (Read in under Rule 17)

  • Statement taken by Kinnersley. Trevor owned a pickup van that he sold about 2 years ago (1988). Hasn’t seen the van since it was sold.
  • NOTE: Doesn’t include registration number but Counsel for Coroner will get that information (because without that information, this statement is not relevant).

Witness: James McShane

  • Leading Fire Officer at Lurgan Fire Station at time of event.
  • Statement taken by Officer Kinnersley.
  • 7/3/90 – around 8:19 pm received a fire call about a burning car on the M1 motorway. Red Rover was completely burnt out when he arrived.
  • Motorway patrol (police) car was there when he arrived. Didn’t notice any other cars there when he arrived. Later, a subordinate fire officer arrived in his personal car, and the Lisburn Fire Crew also responded to call.

Witness: Margaret Twain

  • Statement taken 8/3/90 by Stephen Walker
  • Shortly before 6:10 pm Margaret left home to take her daughter to Belfast. While driving she noticed a blue car parked on the bridge but didn’t notice if anyone was in the car.
  • On her way back around 8:30 she saw the car wasn’t there. She saw a glow on the motorway, turned out to be burning car. Noticed a yellow car on the bridge with its hazards on.


  • End of this tranche of evidence. Preliminary hearing for Principal Parties on 21 June. Next tranche will likely begin in autumn.
  • This week’s evidence was not contentious, but moving forward there will be transcripts of at least some witnesses/evidence in upcoming tranches.