Republican 'threats' to McCartneys

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The family of the Belfast murder victim Robert McCartney accused the Republicans yesterday of intimidating and threatening behaviour.

The family of the Belfast murder victim Robert McCartney accused the Republicans yesterday of intimidating and threatening behaviour.

In one incident, a relative of a Sinn Fein member suspended over the killing reportedly visited one of his sisters at her home and threatened that she would be "put out" of the area.

In another episode, four of the victim's sisters and his fiancée were delivering leaflets publicising a vigil in his memory when a crowd surrounded them and shouted obscenities.

The confrontations are the latest obstacles facing the women, who have bravely waged a high-profile campaign for justice since the death of Mr McCartney.

It was on 30 January that he was allegedly murdered by an IRA member, who fatally stabbed him outside a Belfast bar after a dispute.

From the US President, George Bush, to EU chiefs, his five sisters and his fiancée have won high-level support around the world.

Their campaign eventually forced the IRA to announce it was expelling three members, while Sinn Fein also suspended seven people allegedly involved.

However, despite admissions of involvement, not a single witness has provided evidence to the police and nobody has been charged

Paula McCartney described how a crowd of around 12 men and women allegedly shouted abuse and sexual obscenities as they tried to intimidate them into abandoning their campaign.

"This was blatant discrimination, very loud and threatening," she said. "They tried to provoke us into physical confrontation, but we did not rise to it. The verbal abuse was sickening and they were attempting to smear Robert's name."

His fiancée, Brigdeen Hagans, also claimed to have received similar threats that she and her two sons would be forced to leave their Short Strand home.

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