Northern Ireland

Shankill bomb: Mother recalls plea for help from Sean Kelly

Gina Murray with her son Gary
Image caption Gina Murray with her son Gary

The mother of one of the victims of the Shankill bomb has recalled the moment one of the bombers asked her for help on the day of the atrocity.

Nine people were killed in the attack in Belfast on 23 October 1993, as well as one of the IRA bombers.

Leanne Murray had just turned 13 when she was killed by the bomb.

Her mother Gina said she later realised the other IRA bomber, Sean Kelly, had pleaded for her help after the explosion.

A BBC documentary with first-hand accounts from survivors, relatives, and people involved in the rescue effort after the Shankill bomb will be shown on BBC One Northern Ireland on Monday 22 October at 21:00 BST.

The bomb went off on a Saturday afternoon in Frizzell's fish shop on the Shankill Road.

Leanne Murray was out shopping with her mother when it exploded.

Image copyright Murray family
Image caption Leanne Murray was 13 when the bomb exploded

"I left Leanne, she went into Frizzell's, I went into Jackie Phillips to get the veg for Sunday," Mrs Murray said.

"There was a very loud explosion, I ran out and that's where I saw a man lying on the ground.

"He had blood on the side of his face, he said 'help me'.

"I think the shock of seeing him, not knowing where Leanne was, I just stood there and then he said again 'help me'.

"As he said that a second time, a man came up to me and said 'are you injured?'.

"I went 'no, but my daughter is in the shop'.

"He then helped the fella that was lying on the ground.

"It turned out to be the bomber."

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Nine Protestant civilians and an IRA bomber were killed in the attack

Mrs Murray said she only found out exactly who it was "a few days later".

"Nobody would tell me who it was, and then I was told who it was," she added.

Begley and Kelly posed as fishmongers and carried the bomb into Frizzell's fish shop where shoppers were queuing for food.

In addition to the 10 deaths, a further 57 people were injured by the bomb.

The wounded included Kelly, who was pulled from the rubble of the collapsed building.

He received a total of nine life sentences for his role in the attack but was released early in July 2000, under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

When asked what she would say to Sean Kelly now if she saw him, she replied: "I don't think I would have words for him.

"We will suffer until the day we die."

Image caption Sean Kelly received a total of nine life sentences for his role in the attack but was released early in July 2000, under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement

The bomb led to a series of loyalist attacks, including the Greysteel atrocity, when two gunmen from the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) opened fire on a bar on 30 October, 1993 and shot dead seven people. Another man later died of his injuries.

Sean Kelly recently apologised for the Shankill bomb.

He said it was an IRA operation which went tragically wrong, but 25 years on many people find it hard to forgive, and impossible to forget.

A BBC documentary with first-hand accounts from survivors, relatives, and people involved in the rescue effort after the Shankill bomb will be shown on BBC One Northern Ireland on Monday 22 October at 21:00 BST.

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