Greysteel Massacre Turned Trick or Treat into a Night of Horror

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), October 30, 2003 | Go to article overview

Greysteel Massacre Turned Trick or Treat into a Night of Horror


Byline: Ian Starrett

Halloween weekend will be a time of sad remembrance for the people of the County Londonderry village of Greysteel.

IAN STARRETT recalls the night of the Rising Sun massacre ten years ago and reports on how Greysteel has emerged from the tragedy as a community

TRICK or Treat?, shouted the man in the boiler suit and balaclava and brandishing what the Halloween weekend drinkers at a village pub had at first thought was a toy gun.

Thats not funny, said a woman, believing it was a sick Halloween prank by a couple of local lads.

One of the two men, who was actually brandishing an all-too-real AK-47 rifle, shot her.

They continued to spray the lounge of the Rising Sun Bar with bullets and within seconds unspeakable carnage had unfolded.

Moments earlier the public house, alongside the main Londonderry-Limavady Road, had been the scene of Halloween fun and frivolity. With October 31 falling in 1993 on a Sunday most people had decided to celebrate Halloween on the Saturday night instead.

The Rising Sun Bar was packed with Protestants and Roman Catholics and both were slain and maimed in the slaughter of October 30,1993.

One of the cold-blooded killers calmly reloaded during the slaughter of the innocents which left the floors and walls of the roadside pub splashed with the blood of helpless people, young and old, who had gone out for a drink at an autumnal time of year which is particularly popular in the North West.

The toll of dead and injured could have been greater; the gunman carrying the Browning 9mm automatic pistol cursed as his gun jammed.

There had after all been around 200 people in the bar all waiting for a country and western band to come on stage.

In the bloody history of Northern Ireland down the years there has been countless terrorist acts of retaliation.

Legion are the killings that have been avenged. Greysteel was the night tit-for-tat became Trick or Treat and it was to later emerge that the chilling murders had been carried out by the UFF/UDA in retaliation for the Shankill Road massacre just seven days earlier.

Seven people were mercilessly cut down and died in the indiscriminate gunfire Moira Duddy, Karen Thompson, John Burns, Joe McDermott, John Moyne, James Moore and Stephen Mullan. …

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