Anne Service has appealed to James Brokenshire

23rd November 2017

Anne Service whose son Brian was murdered in October 1998 urges the Secretary of State to make sure the institutions proposed to deal with the legacy of the past, do not once again fail.

Anne Service an 78 year old widow whose son Brian was murdered in October 1998 by loyalist paramilitaries as he walked along Alliance Avenue to his parents’ home in Ardoyne has said that since then she and her family have been treated by the authorities as if ‘Brian’s life and death did not matter’.
In an open letter to the Secretary of State Anne Service has appealed to James Brokenshire to make sure that the institutions proposed in the Stormont House Agreement to deal with the legacy of the past do not once again fail the hundreds of families whose loved ones murder made headlines for a day and was then forgotten by all but their family and friends.
In her letter she wrote:
“Brian was the middle one of our three boys.
I was brought up in a family of love not to hate anyone and so was Brian.
He’d worked in London as a painter and decorator for quite a few years but had come home.
He was quiet in the house but a bit of a character outside with a lot of friends and he enjoyed watching sport with a few beers like anyone else of his age.
That’s what he was going to do the night before Halloween when he went to see his brother.
We had a meal together before he left and I know he went out of our house that night with love.
He wouldn’t have worried about walking home because we were told we had peace by then.
When they told me he was dead I just wanted to lie down on the ground where he died alone to be close to him even for a moment.
I am telling you all this so that you know that Brian was a real person because after his murder that’s not the way he was treated.
It was as if he never really existed as a person and that his life and death did not matter.
The police hardly seemed to bother with an investigation.
He was dead and that was it.
I complained to the Police Ombudsman but I have no idea if his case will be looked at in my lifetime.
The Police Ombudsman has already said that it will take over 20 years to get through current cases.
I can’t wait that long.
I don’t have time.
I do not think for a minute that I am any different from hundreds of others who have not seen anything approaching justice for the murder of their loved one.
It is three years since the Stormont House Agreement.
There is to be an Historical Investigations Unit to look at unsolved cases and an Information Retrieval Commission for those who want information rather than trying to get prosecutions.
Secretary of State can you assure me that Brian’s case will be looked at properly this time?
Can you assure me that they will have the time and resources to do the job properly this time?
Can you assure all the others who feel they have been forgotten because their loved ones murder made headlines only for a day that they their loss will be acknowledged with respect?
My husband Davy died four years ago knowing no more about what happened to our son that we did when they came to our house at 7am to tell us he was dead.
Please don’t let us be forgotten all over again”.
Anne tells her story in Stories From Silence on from the WAVE Trauma Centre.