Family of murder victim still grieving one year on

Kieran Doherty who was murdered by the Real IRA on Wednesay night with his partner Mairead.
Kieran Doherty who was murdered by the Real IRA on Wednesay night with his partner Mairead.

The family of murdered Derry man Kieran Doherty will hold a candlelight vigil at the spot where his body was found on Thursday to mark the first anniversary of his death.

The 31 year-old was shot dead by the Real IRA last February and his body was found on the Braehead Road on the outskirts of the city.

The Real IRA claimed Mr Doherty was a senior member of the organisation and claimed he was killed for being involved in the drugs trade, a claim his family have denied.

In the months before he was killed, Mr Doherty contacted the ‘Journal’ on several occasions claiming he was being harassed by MI5.

A Mass will be said on Thursday evening in the retreat centre at Termonbacca, close to where his body was discovered, followed by a candlelight vigil on the Braehead Road.

Speaking ahead of the anniversary, Mr Doherty’s mother, Christine, said she will not be going to the candlelight vigil because she is unable to go to the scene where his body was discovered.

“The last twelve months have been desperate. I’m still numb,” she said.

“He was my only son and I would not want any family to go through what I have gone through this past year. I won’t be going to the vigil because I can’t go up there; it’s too raw for me. I haven’t been able to visit the scene,” she said.

To date no-one has been charged with Mr Doherty’s murder but his mother said she hopes someone will be brought to justice.

“They will have to meet their maker one day. Hopefully we won’t have to face another anniversary without justice,” she added.

Mr Doherty’s fiancee, Mairead Miller, who he was due to marry last summer, said she often visits the scene where his body was found. “I think that is where prayers are needed the most. That is where Kieran’s soul departed from. It’s hard but I have to go there,” she said.

Ms Miller also said her three year-old daughter, Ceadach, regularly asks where her father is.

“You can’t explain such a violent death to a child that age. She is at nursery school now and she sees her classmates being picked up by their daddies and asks why her daddy doesn’t pick her up,” she explained.

She also said she does not want her child to know that her father’s killers are still free.

“It makes it hard knowing they are still out there. When Ceadach comes to the age where she starts asking questions about her daddy I want to be able to explain to her that they are behind bars,” she said.

Ms Miller also said she is confident that her partner was not involved in drug dealing.

“Now, one year on, I have made a promise to myself and to Kieran that I will hold my head high. I know that Kieran was not a drug dealer. The MI5 people who were following him everywhere he went know that too.

“Hopefully the consciences of those who did it will get the better of them. I would appeal to anyone with information to come forward to the police so they can be caught,” she said.