A Richhill man who lost his disabled wife in the IRA bombing of La Mon House Hotel has said he would like to see more people convicted for the atrocity.
Only one man was convicted and served time in prison for the fire bomb that killed 12 people, including Terry Lockhart’s wife Christine, 35 years ago tomorrow.
“I would like to see them all hanging because what they did was an absolute massacre,” said Mr Lockhart.
Mr Lockhart, who was formerly known as country singer Terry Nash, had been on his way to La Mon following a gig in Dungannon.
He said he was driving along the M1 motorway when he heard about the bomb on the radio.
“I heard about it on a news bulletin on Downtown Radio. One of my friends rang me then and told me to stay where I was and that someone was coming to get me. I knew then that Christine must have been killed,” he said,
“The loss of Christine was shattering, and I never got over it. She was a keen member of the Collie Club whose annual dinner it was that night. I earned my living at singing and had to honour my commitment in Dungannon.
“I went to the morgue in Belfast to identify Christine, and my great friend Roy Craig went with me. Roy told me to wait and he would identify Christine. When he came back to me, he said, ‘Terry you don’t want to go in there, remember Christine as she was’.
“She had been horribly burned, and I took his advice, and I thank God every day that I did.”
Mr Lockhart moved to the Philippines in 1980, two years after the bombing, when the authorities had offered him £90 in compensation for his wife’s life.
“That’s how they valued our loved ones, so I thought the best thing to do was get out of Northern Ireland. I’d sung in places like Australia, New Zealand, Norway and the Philippines – so I plumped for the Philippines and settled there in 1983,” he said.
Since then he has set up an orphanage, Christine’s Children, which he named after his wife.
However, Mr Lockhart said the birth of his first son five years ago to his second wife Sheelagh at the exact date and time of the bomb has given him great comfort: “I call him my miracle baby Dillon. He is five now, the bomb went off at 9pm on February 17 and he was born at 9pm on February 17, 30 years later.
“I say to people and pastors, ‘how can you explain that, you can’t decide when you get pregnant or when a baby is born’. They say it is the will of God. God took something from me on that night, the most important thing in my life was my wife, now he has given me something back.”
The Christine’s Children project is always short of funds and anyone who can help should contact fundraising coordinator Raymond McLeod, of 4 Queen Street, Lurgan.