Murder of Ulster couple fuels fears over future targets

THE DOUBLE murder of an elderly Catholic couple by loyalist extremists in Co Tyrone has led to fears that the range of what the terrorists regard as 'legitimate targets' has again been extended.

The apparent motive for gunning down the couple in their country cottage was the republican connections of some members of their family. The killings were immediately followed by appeals from religious and community leaders for no retaliation.

The dead couple have been named as Charlie and Teresa Fox, who lived near Moy and were aged 63 and 53 respectively. They were shot dead on Sunday night, but their bodies were not discovered until yesterday morning by their two daughters.

A nurse called to the scene said she found Mrs Fox in the kitchen dressed in outdoor clothes, and her husband in the next room in his nightclothes. A car believed to have been used by the killers was found burnt out about a mile away late on Sunday.

On 28 August a son of the dead couple, Patrick Daniel Fox, 23, was jailed for 12 years when he admitted possessing a 1,250lb (567kg) bomb. A previous court hearing was told the RUC believed he had been a member of an IRA team in continental Europe.

Kevin McKearney, who was a son-in-law of the Foxes, was shot dead in his father's butcher's shop in Moy last August. Two of his brothers were killed while on IRA 'active service', one of them shot dead by the SAS in the Loughgall ambush in 1987.

The Foxes lived in a district which is religiously mixed, and were known to both sides as a staunch republican family. Their connection with the McKearneys strengthened this reputation, and such a web of family connections may have been enough to satisfy extreme loyalists that the Foxes were fair game for murder.

The immediate suspects for the killings will be a loyalist gang based in the Lurgan and Portadown areas of Co Armagh, who have shown no compunction in the past about shooting uninvolved Catholics, including women. The burnt-out car was found at the intersection of a motorway which leads to their home district.

Locally, the killing has revived memories of some of the darkest days of the troubles. In the early and mid-1970s there were so many killings of Catholics that that part of the country was known as 'the murder triangle'. Two other elderly Catholic couples died at loyalist hands during that period.

The Foxes were described by the Tyrone priest Father Denis Faul as 'very simple, decent, innocent people', while the Church of Ireland Archbishop Dr Robin Eames denounced 'this barbarous act'. Ken Maginnis, the Unionist MP, said the shootings were 'a blasphemy before God', with the Alliance describing them as the work of satanic minds.

(Photograph omitted)

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
peopleSwimmer also charged with crossing double land lines and excessive speeding
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style