Harry Beckett and Gary Meyer were murdered by the IRA in 1990. Harry’s daughter Kathryn Johnston tells how the attack also killed her mother:
When I heard of the passing of Martin McGuinness last month my first thought was he was given the privilege of dying peacefully, surrounded by his family, something many of the victims of IRA violence did not have.
For some of us, there isn’t even a grave to go to, their bodies lying buried in lonely rural parts, never to be found.
So many unanswered questions, and so many secrets have gone to the grave with McGuinness.
My father, Constable Harry Beckett, was 47 years old, on his way back to Queen Street in June 1990, when he was set upon by an IRA gun man.
He was a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a friend to many. Half way through his life, when the IRA decided to end it.
The manner of his death was horrific, and lives with me every moment of every day. That pain never ends.
I never had the opportunity to say “ goodbye”, or “I love you Dad”. The IRA took him from us and replaced him with a lifetime of heartache and pain.
The pain was too much to bear for my Mum. She stopped eating and died of a broken heart a few months after.
Many have spoken of McGuinness as almost a hero and has been set upon a pedestal by many.
But this was a man, an IRA commander who purposefully planned out the callous horrific murder of many men woman and children through his organisation.
He is one of many, on both sides, who have left a blood stained legacy which will stain the province for generations to come.
I would remind everyone when looking back on someone’s life, you cannot cherry pick the good parts, to paint them in a rosy glow.
The past is there to learn from, we can never go back to those dark days again, neither can we whitewash the pain, bloodshed and suffering away.