ON THIS DAY    27 November      Graphics version >>   BBC News >>
Search ON THIS DAY by date   
  Go back one day Go forward one day

Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
1975: TV presenter Ross McWhirter shot dead

VIDEO : Ross McWhirter presenter and IRA critic is assassinated

Guinness Book of Records co-founder and editor Ross McWhirter has been shot dead outside his North London home.

Mr McWhirter was hit at close range in the head and chest at 1845 GMT. He was taken to a local hospital, but died soon after being admitted.

The well-known author and BBC Record Breakers presenter recently offered a reward of 50,000 for information leading to the arrest of IRA bombers.

Scotland Yard said no group had yet claimed to be behind the attack.

The two gunmen are thought to have waited in the garden of the couple's Enfield house for an hour while Mr McWhirter was in the house preparing to go out to the theatre.


When Rosemary McWhirter arrived home, she got out of her blue Ford Granada and was approached by two men holding pistols.

She ran into the house as her husband came to the front door and seconds later heard two shots.

The killers then used her car to escape. Police later found the car abandoned a few miles away in Tottenham.

Outspoken critic of the IRA

Mrs McWhirter and her two sons, Iain and James, were taken to a secret address soon after the murder, where they are being guarded around the clock.

Mr McWhirter edited the Guinness Book of Records with his twin brother, Norris, and also worked closely with Guinness Director David Hoy, who said the outspoken critic of the IRA was aware he could be in danger.

"He took normal precautions recommended by the police and always looked under his Mercedes - he also varied his routes home," he said.

In Context
The IRA gang who killed Ross McWhirter and carried out dozens of other attacks in London throughout 1975 was apprehended two weeks later.

Martin O'Connell, Edward Butler, Harry Duggan and Hugh Doherty exchanged shots with police in central London on 6 December and escaped to a flat in Balcombe Street, taking two hostages.

The four men were arrested after a six-day siege, charged with 10 murders and 20 bombings and jailed for life in 1977.

They were freed in April 1999 under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement - the multi-party peace deal for Northern Ireland.

Norris McWhirter continued to edit the Guinness Book of Records until 1985 and presented BBC's Record Breakers until 1994. He died in April 2004.

Search ON THIS DAY by date   
  Go back one day Go forward one day

Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
^^ Back to top |