Catholic man killed – 1988

AN 18-year-old British soldier, Guardsman David Holden, of the Grenadier Guards, was charged at Cookstown Court with the unlawful killing of a young Catholic man at the permanent border checkpoint at Aughnacloy.

Local man, Aidan McAnespie (24), of Ballygawley Road, was shot dead near the checkpoint as he was walking along the road, on his way to attend a gaelic football match.

An RUC spokesperson said Mr McAnespie was hit when three shots were fired by a soldier.

The spokesperson said that three shots were fired and all hit the roadway. A ricochet from one killed the deceased whose death, an army spokesman said, is “deeply regretted”.

But a married sister of the dead man, Eilish McCabe, disputed the police claim that a number of shots had been fired.

“One shot was fired from a distance of 300 yards, and it hit Aidan in the heart,” she said.

Mrs McCabe said her brother had canvassed for her when she stood for Sinn Féin in the local government elections of 1985, but had not been a member of the party or any other organisation.

The McAnespie family said the young man had been continually harassed by the security forces, particularly by the British Army. Mrs McCabe said “He expected to be shot because of all the hassle he had received.”

Cardinal Tomas O’Fiach presided at the Requiem Mass and addressing the congregation was sharply critical of British Army policy.
“This is not the first occasion in which an innocent and unarmed civilian has been shot dead by British security forces.”