Thursday 26 April 2018

'I can remember the sound of gunfire to this day' - parents of young woman shot 27 times in case of mistaken identity

Undated family handout photo of chemist shop worker Jillian Johnston who was shot at least 27 times after being mistakenly targeted by the IRA, as her mother Annabella has said ahead of Sunday's 30th anniversary of the shooting, that she believes the killers will never face justice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday March 17, 2018. South East Fermanagh Foundation/PA Wire
Undated family handout photo of chemist shop worker Jillian Johnston who was shot at least 27 times after being mistakenly targeted by the IRA, as her mother Annabella has said ahead of Sunday's 30th anniversary of the shooting, that she believes the killers will never face justice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday March 17, 2018. South East Fermanagh Foundation/PA Wire

David Young

The mother of a woman shot at least 27 times after being mistakenly targeted by the IRA has said she believes the killers will never face justice.

Chemist shop worker Jillian Johnston, 21, was gunned down outside her home in Belleek, Co Fermanagh, as she sat in a car beside her fiance.

Ahead of Sunday's 30th anniversary of the shooting, her mother Annabella has recounted the night Jillian was killed.

She said her daughter, who was a month short of her 22nd birthday, had been out at a cafe with her fiance and had just pulled back into the driveway when they were ambushed. She was killed, and her partner of six years was badly injured.

Mrs Johnston heard the shooting unfold from inside the house.

"I heard awful automatic gunfire, it seemed to go on and on, I was terrified, I can remember the sound to this day," she said.

Undated handout photo of a Jillian Johnston memorial quilt. South East Fermanagh Foundation/PA Wire
Undated handout photo of a Jillian Johnston memorial quilt. South East Fermanagh Foundation/PA Wire

"I rang my sister-in-law who lived nearby and she came, just as she opened the door I heard Jillian's fiance calling out and lamenting, I ran out and the minute I saw Jillian I knew she was dead. I lifted up her head and it fell down again.

"That Friday night will be with me forever. Jillian was buried the following Sunday.

"The post-mortem revealed that at least 27 bullets had been found in her body.

 

"A few months later two friends who had worked at our farm were shot leaving Belleek police station. No-one has ever been charged with any of these murders."

 

Mrs Johnston said the family's hopes of justice had faded.

 

"Jillian's murder brought it home to us that you didn't have to be in any organisation to be murdered," she said.

 

"Jillian's brothers and sisters have all moved on with their own lives and have families of their own now, but the memory of Jillian's brutal murder will be with them always and is still talked about as if it was yesterday.

 

"Thirty years on we feel as a family that no-one will ever be brought to justice for the murder of Jillian. However, it is our Christian belief that those responsible for this cowardly act will have to answer to God on their final judgment day."

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