Charlie Foxwas shot dead by loyalists 20 years agoTess Fox was shot dead by loyalists 20 years ago
A woman whose parents were gunned down by loyalists 20 years ago today has appealed for an investigation into the double murder to be published immediately.
The couple had no political involvement, but their 23-year-old son Patrick had been jailed for possessing an IRA bomb a week earlier.
The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) has investigated the murder, but the family said that although the report was completed months ago, it still hasn’t been given to them.
Bernadette McKearney said: “On the 20th anniversary of my parents’ murder, I’m appealing to the HET to hand over this report immediately.
“It’s a very emotional time for us and, by holding onto the report, the HET is compounding our grief.
“We are also angry that there has been no inquest into our parents’ deaths and we have never even been told why.”
The HET declined to comment on the family’s complaint.
“This is a confidential matter between us and the family,” a spokeswoman said.
Mrs McKearney recalled the awful morning 20 years ago when she found her parents lying dead in the blood-drenched kitchen as her own four children sat waiting for her in the car outside.
“Mammy and daddy had been shot the night before but I didn’t find them until the next morning. Daddy was in his pyjamas. Most of his face had been blown away by the gunfire. Mammy had been shot several times and her jaw was broken.
“She’d taken the sweeping brush to one of the gunmen in a vain effort to protect herself. He broke her jaw with the gun before shooting her. Seeing them lying there was the worst moment of my life.”
Mrs McKearney’s husband Kevin, along with his uncle John, had been shot dead by the same UVF gang in their butcher’s shop just eight months earlier. Neither man had any paramilitary connection.
The HET has also completed a report into this double murder which the family say has been given to the PSNI first, and not them, because of its “sensitive nature”.
One man was convicted in connection with the couple’s murder, but the family claim he was “a bit player”.
They believe the alleged gunman, who lives in Portadown and is a born-again Christian, was never charged because he was an RUC Special Branch agent.
Patrick Fox claimed he had been regularly threatened by some police officers that his family would be killed.
He logged the alleged threats with his solicitor at the time.
The family said HET investigators told them they’d discovered that loyalists had been shown police photographs of Patrick Fox and his brother Anthony, who has no convictions.
Mrs McKearney added: “We have slowly lost faith in the HET investigation into my parents’ murder but, out of common decency, they should show us their report now.”
The 1992 murder of Charlie (63) and Tess (53) Fox provoked widespread condemnation. The couple were described by Tyrone priest Fr Denis Faul as “simple, decent, innocent people”. Former Church of Ireland Primate Archbishop Robin Eames denounced “this barbarous act”. Then-UUP MP Ken Maginnis said the shootings were “a blasphemy before God”.
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