Annie's Bar murders: A widow reflects on 40th anniversary of attack

The 40th anniversary of an attack in Londonderry in which five people were shot dead is being marked on Thursday.

Loyalist gunmen burst into Annie's Bar in the Waterside area and opened fire with a sub-machine gun and a pistol.

The five men were killed as they sat watching a football match.

One of them was 26-year-old Bernard Kelly. He had been married for just three months to his 23-year-old wife Marie, who was expecting his child.

Four decades on from the attack, Marie Kelly remembers that it had started like any other, normal evening.

"We came home for work, had our dinner and Barney was watching the news," she told BBC Radio Foyle.

"It came on that a UDR man had been shot and Barney said he worked with him and that he was a quiet fellow who didn't deserve that.

"Then he called out to me that he feared someone would be killed before the night's out in retaliation."

Hospital

Mrs Kelly said her husband had told her he was going to the bar to watch a football match but she decided to stay at home to make some Christmas preparations.

"I went to bed later and then I heard a bang at the front door," she said.

The caller was her husband's brother, who told her about the shootings and brought her to the hospital.

"We went through the police cordon to the hospital and we met Barney's sister there.

"She said to me 'Barney didn't make it, he just died there about five minutes ago' and that was how I found out.

"A nurse said to me when she came down that she was surprised how quickly Barney died," the widow said.

"He had been helping everyone else and when she went to fix him he said to her 'go ahead, I am alright'."

Justice

Mrs Kelly said the nurse had told her that when she when to check on him a few minutes later, he had died.

"After that it was just a blur, I don't remember getting home or anything," the widow said.

The couple's son, also called Bernard, was born six months later.

No-one has ever been brought to justice for the Annie's Bar killings, and Bernard said he believes it is better that he does not know who murdered his father.

"The Historical Enquiries Team has done a report and said, more or less, the case is closed and nothing else is going to come out of it.

"We just have to move on," Mr Kelly said.

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