Sunday 25 February 2018

Parents of boy murdered by IRA 20 years ago, have given up hope of justice

Tim Parry, 12, was shopping for football shorts in Warrington 20 years ago when he was killed by an IRA bomb
Tim Parry, 12, was shopping for football shorts in Warrington 20 years ago when he was killed by an IRA bomb

Mike Hornby

THE parents of a young boy killed in the IRA bomb attack in Warrington 20 years ago said they have "given up" hope that the perpetrators will ever be brought to justice.

Tim Parry, 12, was shopping for football shorts when he was caught in the blast which tore though Warrington town centre on March 20 1993.


As his parents prepare to mark the 20th anniversary of the atrocity, Colin and Wendy Parry paid tribute to Tim as a boy who "epitomised a young man who loved life".


Mrs Parry, 55, said: "He was very sporty, very energetic and he wanted to do absolutely everything.


"He played squash with his dad, he played football for the school, he was having golf lessons, he was having guitar lessons."


Mr Parry, 66, added: "He was always cheerful and often funny."


Everton supporter Tim had travelled into town that day to buy a pair of goal-keeping shorts after saving a penalty when he played in goal for his school football team a few days earlier.


His father said: "He set off with £11 in his pocket, which wouldn't even then have bought the shorts - they were £19 - so he actually didn't have enough money.


"But for that fateful penalty, had it never been saved, life would have been very different."


Nobody has ever been prosecuted for the bombing and, in Mrs Parry's words, it means the couple "don't have a face" to confront.


Her husband said: "For 20 years all we have known is that the IRA did it, an amorphous, anonymous body with a name and a cause.


"But we have not had specific faces or names of people, maybe people with families and children, that would have been a whole different set of circumstances to cope with.


"The pursuit of justice is not an issue for us and we have long since given up any idea of that ever happening."


Asked about forgiveness, Mrs Parry added: "We have always said that if anyone is to forgive them it would be Tim and obviously Tim is not here."


Mr Parry added: "If they truly recognised the enormity of what they had done, and if it was genuine remorse, it can move people. But all of that is highly unlikely."


In the aftermath of the tragedy the couple, who have two other children, devoted their lives to the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace which provides conflict resolution and support for victims of terrorism around the world. Three-year-old Johnathan Ball also died in the bombing.


Mr Parry said the charity had been crucial in helping them cope with Tim's death.


"When we first thought about doing some sort of youth exchange we never imagined it would turn into a peace centre of this scale that has done such incredible work," he said.


"We wanted to do something where we would work with people who are suffering at the hands of violent conflict, either because they were victims or perpetrators and, in Tim and Johnathan's names, see if we could make a difference.


Mrs Parry added: "The driving force really is Tim and Johnathan - the fact that we wanted to keep their names and memory alive.


"It's very difficult, as parents, to lose a child and in that way, and because their deaths were so political, they did get a lot of publicity.


"For us and our family, Tim is the driving force."


Setting up the foundation has also been crucial in keeping the couple together.


Mrs Parry said: "We have done quite well to be still together, it's commonly known that once you have lost a child it's difficult for couples to stay together.


"I think we realised at that time that we had to help one another and do what each other wanted to do.


Her husband added: "The foundation has been the glue that kept us together. Otherwise, the stresses and strains could have pulled us apart."


The foundation's work has received global attention and the couple recently returned from the Middle East where they attended a conference organised by the US State Department's Centre for Strategic Counter-terrorism Communications.


Mr Parry said: "The initiative is all about countering al Qaida. Thirty countries have signed up and there were people from 30 embassies and other interested parties. We received considerable warmth and respect for what we have been doing.


"We told of them of the work we do, why we do it, the results we get and, critically, why it's relevant to them - it can be practised in Washington, Wellington or Warrington.


Mrs Parry added: "Most organisations who work with the people we work with, they do it because they are told by their governments to do it, whereas we do it because we want to do it.


"We want to make a difference and we want to help people who have been in the same situation that we have."


The couple will be at the foundation next Wednesday, the anniversary of the bombing, attending a conference on The Cost of Peace and the Price of Extremism.


Five days later, on the anniversary of Tim's death, they plan to visit his grave and spend the rest of day at home with their family.


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