McCord seeks U.S. justice for son
The father of a young man who was murdered in 1997 by a Loyalist paramilitary group, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), is in the U.S. this week to seek “truth and justice” for his son.
Raymond McCord has spent a number of days lobbying members of Congress to support a congressional hearing into his son’s murder.
“It is amazing and at the same time a terrible tragedy that I have to travel 3,000 miles to seek justice,” McCord told the Irish Voice newspaper and IrishCentral.com on Monday evening.
“I’ve had more support this week in Washington -- with the exception of Lady Sylvia Hermon of the Ulster Unionist Party, Gerry Adams and Mark Durkan -- then I’ve ever gotten in 12 years in Ireland.”
McCord’s son, Raymond McCord Junior, a radar operator in the British RAF, was found beaten to death in Ballyduff Quarry on the outskirts of north Belfast on November 9, 1997.
Raymond Junior became involved with the UVF shortly before his murder. The 22-year-old was murdered to protect a senior Loyalist, believed to be a police informant, who was being investigated by the UVF leadership over involvement in drug dealing.
For nine years McCord fought a campaign claiming that his son’s killers were Special Branch informers who were allowed to kill citizens with knowledge of their police handlers.
McCord claimed that the man who murdered his son, Mark Haddock, was a police informer and that collusion had taken place.
It wasn’t until a UVF attack on a Belfast doorman, Trevor Gowdy, in December 2002, that McCord’s accusations were taken seriously. Haddock was arrested and charged with Gowdy’s attempted murder.
It later emerged that Haddock, after he was arrested for petrol bombing a bus, was recruited as an informer by two RUC detectives, Johnson “Jonty” Brown and Trevor McIlwrath, in 1985.
“The police protected the killers -- that’s the collusion issue -- after my son’s murder, and people don’t realize that here in America,” explained McCord.
Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland Nuala O’Loan, after a vigorous campaign for truth by McCord, carried out a thee-and-a-half year investigation into Raymond’s murder and other cases of collusion in the North. The final report concluded that over a number of years British police colluded with loyalists in over a dozen murders in north Belfast.
“Young Raymond was buried in a closed coffin. I never seen his body, he was so badly beaten,” recalls McCord painfully.
“He had no face left. I got them to open the coffin very slightly so I could hold his hand and I saw marks on his hands where he had been fighting for his life. I held his hand and I swore that I would get justice for him and I wasn’t going to stop.”
And stop he hasn’t. Since O’Loan’s report, McCord Senior has been demanding a full public inquiry into the collusion.
McCord’s anger at politicians back in Northern Ireland has brought him on his U.S. quest. While door after door was being slammed in face for years, he now thinks justice may be found in the U.S.
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