No revenge, begs grieving father

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The Independent Online
Hours before the restoration of the IRA ceasefire was declared, the father of the Catholic teenager shot dead as she slept at her Protestant boyfriend's home in Co Antrim said there should be no retaliation by Republicans.

Laurence Martin said: "If her death means it is the last death in this country, then maybe it is worth something and we can live in peace."

Yesterday as the IRA ceasefire was confirmed, a 36-year-old man was remanded in custody charged with Bernadette Martin's murder.

Trevor McKeown, a gardener from Aghalee, Co Antrim, was remanded at a special court sitting at Lurgan RUC station to appear at a Maze Prison sitting of the Lisburn Magistrates Court on August 13.

Ms Martin, 18, had been sleeping at the Aghalee home of her boyfriend, Gordon Green, when a gunman entered the house through an unlocked back door and shot her four times in the head.

Police believed the motive for the killing in an area of high interfactional tensions was most probably sectarian, despite a denial of any responsibility by the Loyalist Volunteer Force.

Her murder had heightened tensions in the province just as people believed they had escaped mass violence during the marching season after the Orange Order temporarily defused the situation by cancelling or re-routing a number of contentious traditional parades on the main marching day of the year, July 12.

Yesterday, a subdued hope came to Co Antrim again in the wake of the ceasefire.

At Ms Martin's funeral Mass Father Richard O'Connell had condemned the killer who had acted as "judge, jury and executioner".

"We can only pray that people who take the law into their own hands will see the grave wrong, the awful crime and sin they commit," he said.