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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Tuesday, 5 February, 2002, 20:38 GMT
Relatives remember bookies' victims
Relatives held a two minute silence in memory
Relatives held a two minute silence in memory
Ten years after the bookie's shop shootings on Belfast's Ormeau Road, victims' families and survivors have gathered at the scene to remember the five people who were murdered.

There was a two minute silence on Tuesday afternoon outside Sean Graham's bookmakers at the exact moment the loyalist gunmen had burst in.

The Ulster Freedom Fighters gang claimed the attack was in retaliation for the IRA murder of eight Protestants at Teebane in County Tyrone.

For the first time some relatives and a survivor have been talking publicly about that day.

Survivor Mark Sykes was shot four times and fell bleeding to the floor.

He said: "The shooting seemed to stop for a second.

Survivor Mark Sykes was shot four times
Survivor Mark Sykes was shot four times

"I was lying on the ground at this stage and I could see a person coming in - I could see his feet.

"I saw him walking about the bookies and then shooting them. I knew by the lay-out of the bookies that he would have to come past me so I put my hands up over my head and I felt myself being shot under the arms."

'Absolute mayhem'

Victim William McManus was 54. His son who was nearby heard the shots and ran to the scene.

However, he was stopped from going into the bookies by a friend who told him his father was dead.


It especially hit Peter's twin brother - his life has never been the same

Clara Connor

"People were shouting and trying to get in - it was absolute mayhem," he said.

Also killed were Christy Doherty, aged 52, and Jack Duffin who was 66.

A 15-year-old schoolboy, James Kennedy, was the youngest victim.

Peter Magee, 18, also died. His sister, Clara Connor, said lives changed for ever that day.

"Our home was turned upside down," she said.

"It especially hit Peter's twin brother - his life has never been the same."

A decade later one man has been jailed on charges linked to the attack, but so far nobody has been convicted of the murders.

The police say the file on the murders is still open.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Mervyn Jess:
"The police say the file is still open"
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