'Officer's killers used Irish battle cry': Army wife tells court of husband's shooting

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The Independent Online
THE WIDOW of a British Army major shot dead in Germany more than three years ago yesterday recalled an 'Irish battle cry' as her husband was murdered.

'It was a triumphant kind of a cry. I did not understand the words. It is difficult for me now to remember the detail but it was Irish,' Rosalind Dillon-Lee told a court in Dusseldorf.

Mrs Dillon-Lee, who lives in Bournemouth, was giving evidence 13 months into the trial of three suspected IRA terrorists: Donna Maguire, 27, Paul Hughes, 29, and Sean Hick, 32.

Mrs Dillon-Lee recalled the night of 1 June 1990. She and Major Michael Dillon-Lee had been to a party. Major Dillon-Lee, 35, was battery commander of the 32nd Heavy Regiment Royal Artillery stationed in Dortmund.

As the major got out of his Volvo at their home in an army barracks she heard a shout. Before there was time to react, she heard five or six shots and saw a man holding what looked like a Kalashnikov.

The killer was stocky. 'He was wearing a balaclava with the eyeholes cut out. And dark clothes, something like the uniform a soldier wears.' He pointed the gun at her but said nothing, then he ran off, leaping into a getaway car.

In her statement after the killing, Mrs Dillon-Lee said the gunman leant out of the back of the car and shouted. Her statement said 'the slogan was from Ireland and was shouted by an Irish person. It consisted of three or four words. I clearly recognised the dialect'.

She told the judge yesterday: 'I did not understand the words, but it was a triumphant kind of cry.'

Ms Maguire and Mr Hughes, both from Newry, Co Down, and Mr Hick, from Glenageary, Co Dublin, were cleared by a Dutch court of murdering two Australian tourists in Roermond five days before the shooting in Germany.

They were extradited to stand trial for Major Dillon-Lee's murder and the attempted murders of a policeman and a civilian guard. Under German law they do not have to enter a plea. The three deny being IRA members. The trial is expected to last until next April.