Ruddy death undeserved 'tragedy'

Tue, Nov 29, 2011, 00:00

THE KILLING of Sean Ruddy, who was shot dead with two of his friends by a British army undercover unit in Newry 40 years ago, “was a tragedy which should not have happened”, the Historical Enquiries Team has found.

The Ruddy family, through the Pat Finucane Centre, yesterday released details of the team’s report into the shooting of 19-year-old Mr Ruddy from Newry, Co Down, in October 1971.

He and two friends, Robert Anderson (25) and Thomas McLaughlin (27), were shot dead by a British army undercover unit who were staking out a bank in Newry city centre, believing it was about to be targeted by the Provisional IRA.

The inquiries team reported that Mr Ruddy, Mr Anderson and Mr McLaughlin, who had been drinking all day, had become involved in “an unplanned crime at the very time and place the security forces were expecting a Provisional IRA terrorist attack to take place”.

All three were unarmed and were shot as they tried to rob a man who was depositing cash in a night safe.

The inquiries team contacted all of the soldiers involved in the shooting but they declined to make a statement.

The Ruddy family welcomed the team’s finding which stated, “Sean’s death was a tragedy which should not have happened. He did not deserve to lose his life in that way.” It is understood the Historical Enquiries Team finding also applied to Mr Anderson and Mr McLaughlin.