Shankill bomb: Woman who lost parents still waiting for HET report

Michelle Williamson is still pressing for an HET report some eight years after other families received theirs
Michelle Williamson is still pressing for an HET report some eight years after other families received theirs

A woman whose parents were killed in the Shankill bomb is still pursuing her Historical Enquiries Team report about the atrocity – while other families got theirs in 2010/11.

Michelle Williamson’s parents, George and Gillian, were killed in the IRA bomb attack on the Shankill Road in Belfast in 1993.

She understands she is the only family of the nine Protestant civilians killed who has not yet been given a report by the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team (HET), the rest having got theirs in 2010/11.

In 2013 the News Letter raised the fact that she was still a waiting a report. Two HET officers met her soon afterwards – the year before the unit closed – but she has still not seen a report.

“The reasons they didn’t engage with me after that [in 2013] was because the questions I asked were – ‘who sanctioned the bomb and who made the bomb’?” she said.

Assistant Chief Constable George Clarke said that PSNI officers will meet her “soon” to discuss the matter, but that her case is now in a queue with 1,400 other deaths.

Expressing condolences to Ms Williamson after the 25th anniversary of the bombing, he said that HET officers undertook to give her a report when they met her in 2013. Explaining that the reports were “tailored to individual families” to address specific questions, he acknowledged that “unfortunately the HET did not complete that report before HET was closed in 2014”.

However, he was unclear about when she might now expect a report; the Shankill investigation, he said, currently sits with the PSNI Legacy Investigation Branch (LIB) and will be reviewed by its Case Sequencing Model – which currently touches on over 1,000 incidents and 1,400 deaths.

He added that the PSNI want to see “a properly resourced Historical Investigations Unit” established to deal with legacy murder cases, but until then, the LIB is the only alternative.

“Officers from LIB have spoken with Ms Williamson and will meet with her soon to discuss the issues raised.”

In 2013 Michelle told the News Letter that around 2010 she had asked HET who was behind the attack and was told an HET officer would be sent to meet her – but never came.

The PSNI responded at that time: “She was asked to write or telephone if she wanted a copy. The HET has no record of any such request being made.”

They told her that only one Shankill family had engaged with them and that her questions would take time to process, she said.