Legacy Scandal: ‘The IRA tried to murder me twice but the HIU will ignore such cases,’ says ex UDR man

The IRA tried two murder attempts on Mr Espie: once they took over a house and waited for him, once they were waiting near his home
The IRA tried two murder attempts on Mr Espie: once they took over a house and waited for him, once they were waiting near his home

In the latest essay in the series, GLEN ESPIE says the PSNI will not investigate cases such as his unless forced to do so by the DPP or attorney general

My name is Glen Espie and I was a part time member of the UDR for a number of years.

News Letter series for the late summer and autumn of 2018 on how after decades of murder and mayhem in which the IRA was most culpable, the legacy processes have turned against state forces to a grossly disproportionate extent

News Letter series for the late summer and autumn of 2018 on how after decades of murder and mayhem in which the IRA was most culpable, the legacy processes have turned against state forces to a grossly disproportionate extent

I felt that I had to play my part in stopping the country being destroyed by terrorism.

I also had a full-time day job as a plumber, doing repairs for the Housing Executive.

This entailed me visiting houses, sometimes in very hostile areas, helping people who had leaks, heating problems, etc.

During my service in the UDR, PIRA tried to murder me twice.

Glen Espie, who was a part time member of the UDR

Glen Espie, who was a part time member of the UDR

The first time was in 1978 when I had called at a house to conduct repairs.

It was a bogus call, PIRA had taken over the house and a gun team was waiting on me.

I was badly injured but managed to escape with my life, despite being chased by the terrorists.

Once again, in 1987, PIRA gunmen were waiting near my home and opened fire when I left in the morning in my car.

I managed to return fire and that probably saved my life.

There were different suspects arrested but no one has ever been convicted of these attempted murders.

I have lived with this constant threat on my life for over forty years, and never once have I thought of taking the law into my own hands.

It was the role of the security forces to defend and protect all of the community, and that is exactly what we did.

Recently I met an advocate working for the South East Fermanagh Foundation, as I wanted to know what had happened in the investigations into the attempts on my life.

She wrote to the PSNI, asking a number of questions on my behalf.

When a chief superintendent eventually responded, his letter was an insult.

He did not to answer any of the questions, and the letter appeared to be like a pre written pro forma that could be sent out when anyone makes an enquiry of this type.

He didn’t even have the decency to sign it, a secretary had put the standard ‘PP’ at the bottom of the letter on his behalf.

The letter quoted statistics from the Troubles and the pressures on the PSNI.

It went on to say, “There is no binding legal obligation upon the PSNI to proactively re-examine all the crimes that occurred during this period.

“The PSNI does not have the necessary resources to review or investigate any non-fatal, Troubles-related crimes.”

The PSNI state in that letter that when there is no binding legal obligation to investigate, they will not do it.

So unless forced by the likes of the DPP or the attorney general, they will ignore cases like mine.

I understood that the role of the police is to protect the public and investigate crime.

On the PSNI website, it actually asks the question, “Have you been the victim or witness to a crime or incident?”

Well actually yes, I have, but you don’t want to know.

I thought that when I heard that the government had new plans to investigate the past and had the recent consultation, there would be a chance that the crimes against me would be properly looked at.

I now understand that there is nothing in it for me.

Attempted murders will be ignored by the new HIU and the PSNI have stated clearly they have no interest into investigating them.

It is likely that the weapons that were used to try and murder me have been destroyed, the suspects may have received On The Run letters or Royal Prerogatives of Mercy, or be sitting in government.

As it stands, there is more of a chance of the investigation being against me, as the proposed structures make it easy for someone to makes scurrilous allegations against retired members of the security forces that will automatically result in an investigation.

It makes me think that if I had been an active terrorist, there would have been more chance of me getting a proper investigation.

Surely the innocent victims of terrorism are not going to be let down again?

For other essays in the legacy scandal series, click here