‘I just want them to face justice for what they did’

Ex-UDR soldier David Martin, a married father-of-three, was murdered by the IRA near Kildress, Cookstown on April 25, 1993.
Ex-UDR soldier David Martin, a married father-of-three, was murdered by the IRA near Kildress, Cookstown on April 25, 1993.

The brother of a former UDR soldier who was murdered by the IRA 25 years ago says he still hopes someone will be brought to justice for the killing.

David Martin, a married father-of-three from Pomeroy, died on the morning of April 25, 1993 when a booby trap bomb exploded under his car as he drove along the Flo Road at Kildress, near Cookstown.

David Martin's car was completely destroyed in the explosion which claimed his life in April 1993.

David Martin's car was completely destroyed in the explosion which claimed his life in April 1993.

As the 25th anniversary of David’s murder approaches, his brother Philip is still hopeful that those responsible will one day be held accountable for their heinous crime.

“Even after all this time I still think that the men who did that to David, their conscience has to get the better of them - well I’m hoping that anyway,” he said.

“I’ve met a lot of these guys down the years and believe it or not, some of them it does start to play on their conscience and it makes them think.

“I believe in justice. That’s something I truly believe in. So I will just keep going and hopefully someone will come forward with information about who was responsible for what happened to David.”

Recalling the awful events of 25 years ago, Philip said: “I remember everything about that day. I remember it all unfortunately. I got a call from the police in Cookstown on the Sunday morning and before I even answered the phone I just knew what had happened. I turned to my wife and said ‘David’s dead’.

“I went up to the Flo Road and he was just lying in a pile on the road. By the time I got to him he was still warm. I put my hand on his back and he had a big hole where the device had taken half his back out. He’d been killed outright so at least I knew he didn’t suffer.”

Paying tribute to his older brother, the 56-year-old continued: “David was a real gentleman. As a brother he was brilliant and as a human being he was just fantastic.

“He was in the UDR for about 12 years, but he’d left and was just trying to get on with his life.

“David really only joined to get a few pound to buy a farm. He had the farm bought, but sadly never got the chance to enjoy it.”

The bobby trap bomb exploded under David’s red Audi 80 car as he travelled along Flo Road at around 7:15am.

The blast threw him from the vehicle, and despite the efforts of people who tried to help, he died at the scene.

David left behind a widow, Hilda, two daughters aged five and 13 and an eight-year-old son.

At the time, police appealed for anyone who noticed suspicious activity at the Braeside Bar on Orritor Road where David had been the previous night, or at Tulnacross Road where the car had been parked overnight, to come forward.

Philip, who also served in the UDR, was himself targeted by the IRA on a number of occasions.

During one terrifying incident, just six weeks before David’s murder, gunmen shot at him while he was standing outside his house in Pomeroy with his two young children.

He and his family were later forced to move out of the area due to constant threats.

Making a fresh appeal for anyone with information about David’s murder to come forward, he added: “Murder is murder. It doesn’t matter what religion you are or anything else. In my book the men who did this are just murderers.

“I’m not wanting revenge, I just want them to face justice for what they did.

“I can forgive anybody, but they have to come forward and admit what they did first.”

Meanwhile, the PSNI has said it cannot confirm when a review of the David Martin murder case will be carried out.

Asked if Mr Martin’s murder is still being investigated, a PSNI spokesman revealed that responsibility for reviewing the case has been handed over to the Legacy Investigation Branch (LIB).

“The review into the murder of David Martin on 25 April 1993 outside Pomeroy was not commenced by the Historical Enquiries Team prior to its closure in 2014,” he explained.

“The murder is now within the caseload of LIB to review in line with the Case Sequencing Model. It is not possible at this time to confirm when work on this case will commence. However, when this happens the family of David Martin will be notified.”

Appealing for anyone with relevant information about the murder to come forward, the spokesman added: “Anyone with information should contact detectives on 101.

“Alternatively, information can be given to the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.”