Brothers’ “emotional” encounter with an RUC man whom they saw “killed” as children in 1979 by an IRA sniper
And surprisingly, former Sergeant Jim Craig, now 72, told the News Letter that he was saved by his hair being too long.
Steve Hardy grew up in the Village area of ââsouth Belfast and moved to England in 1982. At the time of filming, in August 1979, he was five and his brother David was seven.
The IRA had taken occupants of a house on Benburb Street hostage and reported a burglary in a house across the street. A Land Rover RUC arrived and a policeman came out and knocked on the door. An IRA gunman in the house opposite then opened fire.
“I saw the policeman on the ground bleeding,” Steve said. âMy mom ran out screaming and grabbed us both in the house.
“We always assumed he was dead and that’s how he stayed for about 40 years.”
But more recently, he researched the date and found that the officer had survived.
âSo we managed to make contact and meet, which we did a few weeks ago in Belfast. I’d always assumed it was the first corpse I’d seen, but luckily it wasn’t and it was fine.
Jim shared his memories of the day with the News Letter.
âAs I knocked on the door, I thought an electric shock had gone through my body. I thought they wired the knocker to the mains. At the same time, I felt the blow on the head as if I had been hit with an ax.
He fell to the ground, drifting in and out of consciousness. “I was temporarily paralyzed and blinded, both of them back in time.”
The first bullet hit the top of his head, traveling to the front of his head, the second on his right temple, but none penetrated the skull.
He had several skin grafts and had to learn to walk again, but then returned to work, with restricted tasks.
Today, he still suffers from numbness in parts of his body, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, diabetes and partial deafness. Despite several arrests, no one has ever been charged.
âI was delighted to have met Steve and Dave as they are a living testimony to what happened to me that day, although I’m sorry it happened in front of them. It was certainly a touching encounter. at times, âhe said.
His RUC cap suffered an entry hole on the top and an exit hole on the front, right next to the badge.
He was sitting much higher than usual as his hair had not been cut for a month, which confused the sniper.
He added, âIf my cap was where it should have been, the bullet would have entered the back of my head and exited at my right eye. That’s what saved my life.
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