Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Declan Duffy, Forget the Murder Where is the Gardner Art ?????

I'll say sorry for INLA murder

Seventeen years ago, Derby soldier Michael Newman was gunned down. The Irish National Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the murder. A former leader of the group, named as a suspect, says he is ready to cooperate with police. Claire Duffin reports.

IN April 1992, Elizabeth Robinson was looking forward to spending the rest of life with her soldier fiance Michael Newman.

But her dreams were cruelly shattered when Sgt Newman was shot in the head at point blank range in Derby city centre – an innocent victim of the troubles in Northern Ireland.

He had never served in Ulster and was not wearing uniform when he was chosen as a target by the Irish National Liberation Army and killed.

The IRA splinter group claimed responsibility for the murder – writing to Sgt Newman's devastated parents telling them their son was simply another cog in the wheel in their fight to bring down the British army.

Seventeen years on, Declan Duffy, one of three men named at the time by police as a suspect, says he will write to the family again –this time apologising on behalf of the group.

He has also pledged to cooperate fully with the police and tell them what he knows about the murder.

But the move has angered Elizabeth. She said: "Writing a letter would devastate his mum and dad."

"What could he say to his parents. How could he apologise for taking their only son?

"They (the INLA) wrote to them at the time explaining that he was just another cog in the wheel.

"I don't know what he is hoping to achieve by writing to me or his parents, is he wanting forgiveness for murder?

"He can say what he likes but he will never get that from me.

"I became a completely different person after the man I loved was taken away."

Elizabeth was 28 when Sgt Newman, a Royal Signal Corps recruitment officer, was gunned down.

The 34-year-old was taken to intensive care at Derbyshire Royal Infirmary but his life support machine was switched off the following morning.

Elizabeth said: "This is a political war but we are not part of it.

"I was only 28 when he died and I did not know much about the situation. I am more worldly now and understand they have a political war.

"I understand they think they have their reasons but what reason is there for killing anybody?"

Derbyshire police want to speak to Duffy in connection with the murder.

The 35-year-old, along with Anthony Gorman, is facing extradition from Ireland following a request by Derbyshire police in May this year.

Duffy is serving a four-year term for membership of the Irish National Liberation Army, despite his decision to renounce links with the group, leading to death threats.

He said he expects to be flown to England next month and has vowed to help police.

"The police have wanted to speak to me about this killing for a very long time and I'm ready to meet them," he said.

"I won't gain anything by remaining silent during the interview so I'm going to tell them everything that I know.

"I would never have spoken to the police in the past but my war is over and there are things I have to get off my chest."

Duffy said if he was charged and found guilty he would accept his punishment.

He said: "I just want to put my past behind me."

Duffy also apologised on behalf of the terror group to Sgt Newman's family.

He said: "This man was a family man and it is regrettable that he was killed.

"I would be happy to meet with any member of his family to explain to them the circumstances of why soldiers at that time were being targeted.

"The war is now over and I acknowledge the hurt caused to Irish and English people."

In May, Anthony Gorman, was arrested on suspicion of murder by members of the Garda Extradition Unit.

He appeared at the High Court in Dublin and released on bail after the case was adjourned to give his lawyers more time to prepare a case against his extradition.

Previous attempts to have Gorman extradited in 1994 failed after legal arguments, but this time, with a new European law in place, it is hoped to be successful.

Days after Gorman's arrest, Duffy was held, also on suspicion of murder. He was remanded in custody to appear at an extradition hearing this month.

Joseph Magee, was jailed for 25 years in 2004, after pleading guilty to Sgt Newman's murder on the understanding he would be released two years later under the Good Friday Agreement.

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