Omagh Bombing: A bomb's savage legacy: 28 lives snuffed out, hundreds left to mourn and wives who and daughters

Click to follow
The Independent Online
The Shoppers

Veda Short, 56, of Gortaclare, Ann McCombe (right), 49, and Geraldine Breslin (far right), 43, of Omagh

All three women died after they were evacuated from the clothes shop Watterson Bros minutes before the blast. Mrs McCombe's husband, Stanley, dashed home to Omagh from the weekend trip to discover his wife was dead. Yesterday, his eyes red with weeping, he said: "Ann was my wife, and she was my best friend as well. No one could have asked for a happier marriage. The bombers are the scum of the earth and I feel totally numb." Mrs Short lived in Gortaclare, south of Armagh, and worked in Watterson's lingerie department. She leaves a husband, William, one son, three daughters and a grandchild. Mrs Breslin, of Omagh was hit by the full force of the blast as she fled. She leaves a husband, Mark, and their 14-year-old son Gareth. Father John Forbes, a local priest, described Mrs Breslin as "a beautiful woman who was the salt of the earth".

Frederick White, 60, and his son, Brian, 26, of Omagh

Mr White - known as Fred (above) - was a very active member of the Omagh branch of the Ulster Unionist party who died alongside his 26-year-old son, Brian, who still lived at home with his parents. David Trimble, the party leader visited the family, said: "His death and the death of his son is a tremendous tragedy for me personally. His family are in a terrible state."

Esther Gibson, 36, of Beragh near Omagh

Esther Gibson, who worked in a local clothing factory, had recently become engaged and was due to marry next July. She was a Sunday school teacher for the Rev Ian Paisley's Free Presbyterian Church.

She was known to the Democratic Unionist leader, who said: "She was a very dedicated Christian and a fine children's worker. She was a very fine girl with a good future. This is terrible for the children and the congregation."

She was also related to Oliver Gibson, a DUP Assembly member for West Tyrone.

Kenneth Hawkes, 36, her fiance, said: "When they killed her, I died with her. I wish I was with her this minute."

They met last year at the local Silver Birches Hotel. Mr Hawkes remembered the exact time they were introduced - 11.45pm.

They got engaged a few months later.

He said: "We had an engagement photograph taken and our rings picked out."

Alan Radford, 16, of Omagh

He was one of the last victims of the bombing to be identified and his family had to endure an agonising wait to Sunday night before his identity was confirmed.

Then his brother, Paul, said: "I didn't find out until tonight that he was probably dead and it wasn't official until we went to the morgue and saw his body."

Mr Radford said it was so cruel that his brother had never been involved in the politics of Northern Ireland and yet had been murdered in such a way.

Aidan Gallagher, 21, of Omagh

The 21-year-old mechanic had taken a day off work to go on a shopping trip.

Michael Gallagher, his father who also lost his brother to terrorism 14 years ago, yesterday recalled his last moments with his son. "He was just the way you would want him to be," he said.

After Mr Gallagher identified his son's body, he went home. "My wife was there and the kids were there and I didn't really have to say anythingthey knew that it was over."

Olive Hawkes, 60, of Omagh

Brian McCrory, 54, of Omagh.

Deborah Cartwright, 20, of Omagh

Brenda Devine, 20 months, of Donemana.

Brenda was killed and her mother, Tracey, left critically injured by the blast.