The mother of Derry murder victim, Andrew Allen, who was shot dead in Lisfannon six years ago, has urged his killers to look into their hearts before contacting detectives with information about the atrocity.
Top of the Hill woman, Donna Smith, has explained how the passage of time since her son’s murder in Inishowen has done nothing to ease her pain.
“It’s getting harder for me to be honest, because I’m watching his children growing up and there are all those wee significant things happening in their lives and he’s not there to see it.
“They miss him terribly. We all miss him. He was such a big character. It’s just very hard,” she said.
Today will be especially hard. Exactly six years ago at roughly 9.20 p.m. gunmen fired shots through the window of Mr. Allen’s Links View Park home in Lisfannon murdering the 24-years-old Derry man while he played a game console inside.
The slaying was claimed by Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD), which less than six months after the atrocity, reportedly coalesced with other militants under a new ‘IRA’ umbrella.
While several people have since been arrested in connection with the murder no-one has ever been brought to book.
Ms. Smith believes up to a dozen people were involved and has today issued a direct appeal to their consciences.
“You’re relying on people’s consciences. When they think about it, can they live with it?
“Maybe one day, someone might say, ‘I can’t live with this any more.’ Maybe somebody is living with it and wants to do something but they are afraid.”
As the Allens continue their search for justice the persistently high rates of paramilitary-style attacks in Derry have inflicted only fresh trauma on the family, as Ms. Smith explained.
“Every time I hear there’s been a punishment shooting or something, I think, ‘God love that family, what are they going through tonight?’
“And this shooting by appointment?....there’s no explanation for that. To say to somebody, ‘Come down at such and such a time, we are going to shoot you’. Something has to be done.”
The heartbroken Derry mother has reminded anyone who may have any information about her son’s murder that they can contact the authorities confidentially on both sides of the border via the free ‘Crimestoppers’ numbers 1800250025 (RoI) and 0800555111 (PSNI).
She’s understandably desperate for further progress.
“From the start of this year I’ve found it really, really hard. It’s been going on so long and nobody’s been caught. You’re walking past people and you’re wondering, was it you, was it you? I would love somebody to be caught now, charged with it and brought to court.”
Ms. Smith’s harrowing story is available in great detail via the Towards Understanding & Healing (TUH) project’s ‘To tell you the truth’ publication of 2015.