Widow of garda killed in Bosnia tells of trauma


THE widow of a Garda sergeant who died in "Snipers' Alley" in Sarajevo last year, told the High Court that she had led a nightmare life since his death.

Mrs Rosemary Reid (38), a psychiatric nurse, of Drumanny Letterkenny, Co Donegal, is claiming compensation under the Garda Compensation Acts for the death of Sgt Paul Reid (39) who died on May 12th last year, and for her children, Aoife (14), Connor (11) and Eoin (9).

Sgt Reid and his partner Garda Philip Carr (35), from Clonmany, Co Donegal, were travelling in a UN jeep when it struck a lamp post. They were the only gardai on UN duty in Sarajevo at the time.

According to a UN report, the crash was probably caused by a sniper's bullet striking a front tyre. Garda Carr was seriously injured.

Mrs Reid said in evidence that her husband enjoyed and had been dedicated to his work. She learned of his death when 12 people came to her door. "You never recover from the shock of that moment. I don't believe I will ever recover," she added.

She was attending a grief counsellor. Aoife had been traumatised - she could not be consoled. She still slept with her father's jumper. Conor was most difficult and got very angry and had a lot of nightmares that his mother was going to die. Eoin talked about his father in the present tense.

"There are no words to describe the nightmare. I see no improvement at the moment. I wouldn't see myself going back to work. The children probably would not let me. They don't let me out of their sight."

Supt Kevin Lennon of Buncrana described Sgt Reid as a highly competent, dedicated officer who operated in a very sensitive Border post. Sgt Reid's average annual overtime earnings were £5,500.

Sgt Michael Brennan, the sergeant in charge of Burn foot where Sgt Reid had been stationed, said he would earn £22,412 overtime in this financial year, because of BSE and the Northern situation.

Mr Paul Gilligan SC, for Mrs Reid, said her late husband earned £26,600 per annum. The State was not contesting capital value of the dependency claim estimated at £270,000. At the time of her husband's death, Mrs Reid had been working and it was agreed that if she were still in the same job she would be earning £128 net per week.

Mr Gilligan said there would be evidence that Sgt Reid would have been promoted to the rank of inspector.

The hearing continues today.