‘The heartache never goes away’ - victim’s mum

Derry Journal. DER4413JM005
Derry Journal. DER4413JM005

The heartbroken mother of one of the victims of the Greysteel massacre 20 years ago, has spoken publicly for the first time about the emptiness she feels since the loss of her daughter.

Karen Thompson - who was just three weeks shy of her 20th birthday when she was at the Rising Sun bar that tragic Halloween night - was with her boyfriend of two-and-half years, Steven Mullan, when they were both killed.

“Karen would be 40 next month,” Olive told the ‘Journal’ yesterday. “I’m not really angry, just very sad when I think of what Karen missed out on. There had been talk Karen and Steven might get engaged that Christmas but...

“The date of when it happened doesn’t annoy me. I try to keep busy, but it’s always there; there’s always a space to fill.”

Olive recalled the night of the shootings, and the last thing she said to her “good and always happy” daughter was to make sure she did the dishes.

“We were going to see a friend of ours in Altnagelvin that night and on to Mass and I remember saying to Karen, before I left, to do the dishes,” recalled Olive. “When we came home the house was empty. At about 10pm a friend from Ballykelly rang to ask had we seen the news? We had the TV on, but it was turned down. Then we got another phone call to say there had been bother at the bar in Greysteel. We had no mobile phones back then so Anthony, my husband, drove up to Greysteel. I didn’t go with him. When Anthony came home, it must have been after midnight, I saw he wasn’t driving, that his brother was, I knew there was something up. At first they wouldn’t let Anthony into the bar, but then they did. He always said he was glad I didn’t go up because the sight that met him was something awful.”

Within weeks of burying their daughter, Olive’s husband Anthony took ill and, within weeks, he was also laid to rest.

“At times you feel very empty, and there isn’t a day that goes by you don’t think about it but, time is a great healer,” said Olive.