Terrorists offered the hand of peace: As Greysteel reeled from the horror of Saturday's pub killings, the son of one of the victims had a message for the attackers. Ian MacKinnon reports

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The Independent Online
A MAN last night offered the hand of peace to the terrorists who murdered his father in the loyalist attack on the Rising Sun bar. Colm Moore said: 'If I met them, I feel I could shake hands with them and try to tell them to stop.'

His father, James, 81, was one of seven people, six of them Catholics, killed when two Ulster Freedom Fighter gunmen sprayed the inside of the bar at Greysteel, near Londonderry. Relatives have pleaded for no retaliation and an end to the bloodshed. The funerals for all the victims will take place today.

Mr Moore said he was shattered by his father's death. 'People, so many innocent people all over, are suffering. Protestants and Catholics here accept each other and they respect each other. To me, these people (the loyalist paramilitaries) are misguided. They probably feel they are doing something for their own community, but in the long run it is hard for everyone.'

Last night, the father of Karen Thompson, 19, the youngest victim, talked of the moment he found her in the bar. Anthony Thompson said he had been driving past the scene when he came upon the police cordon. He went through it and into the bar: 'I had to wade through all the bodies and she was the very last one I found.' Karen's boyfriend of three years, Steven Mullan, 20, who she planned to marry, was murdered alongside her. Mr Thompson said: 'He was like a son to us. They would have been very happy together.'

Last night, one woman was still critical in Altnagelvin hospital in Londonderry, while others were recovering from their wounds. Police were still questioning nine people about the attack.

Yesterday, a nurse, Katrina Moore, 25, whose husband, James, is the grandson of Jimmy Moore, 81, one of those who died, told how she had been called to the shooting to try to help the dying and injured. 'I never imagined it would be so bad,' she said, sobbing as she recalled the sight. 'Not such carnage. I remember the smell of the gunfire. There was chaos. People were squealing and crying. I came across one guy I knew, but his face was unrecognisable. His friend was lying dead beside him.'

She worked feverishly alongside a colleague, Jaqueline O'Doherty, whose mother, Moira Duddy, lay dead, while they waited almost 20 minutes for an ambulance. She said: 'My feeling now is one of disbelief. There are moments when you just sit down and burst into tears. I don't think I will ever recover. It will always haunt me. '

Yesterday, the body of another victim, Joe McDermott, a 54-year-old recluse, lay in a coffin in the room where he was born, in a remote council house he shared with more than 20 cats. Each day, he trudged four miles to the village of Eglinton to buy cat food and loaves of bread.

The village children occasionally taunted what they saw as a strange figure, as he sat outside the bakery whiling away the afternoon, perhaps enjoying a couple of tins of beer. But inside, staff remembered Joe McDermott with affection, one recalling: 'He was always smiling, he was very happy-go-lucky.'

His brother James, 57, said this was how Joe was regarded by all when he was a young and handsome footballer, popular with the girls. But a nervous breakdown was followed by unemployment after he returned from working in England. Some dismissed him because he was a loner, but he did not deserve to die that way. 'He enjoyed a dance, a drink and a cigarette, that's all,' his brother said. 'What benefit is his death to anybody? It's achieved nothing.'

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