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Anniversary of ‘Topper’ murder is to be marked

COMMEMORATION: Paul Thompson’s brother Eugene says his family deserves a fresh inquest COMMEMORATION: Paul Thompson’s brother Eugene says his family deserves a fresh inquest
By Michael Jackson

RELATIVES for Justice is to host a commemoration to mark the 25th anniversary of Paul ‘Topper’ Thompson, murdered by loyalists in a shooting local people are convinced was an act of collusion.

The 25-year-old was shot dead by the UDA in a car in Springfield Park on April 27, 1994.

A wall separating Springfield Park and the loyalist Springmartin estate had been breached before the murder. The playwright Brenda Murphy, who lived on the street at the time, had informed both the NIO and the RUC that the wall was breached and distributed leaflets alerting residents to the danger. However, both the NIO and RUC ignored her calls. Later that night, Paul Thompson had accompanied a taxi driver friend after he was called to pick up a fare in Springfield Park, where the vehicle was attacked. He died in the arms of Brenda Murphy, who had earlier raised concerns about the breached wall.

An inquest into the killing was later abandoned after Ms Murphy produced recorded evidence of her calls to the NIO and RUC.
A community inquest held some years later, which was chaired by American judge Andy Summers, found that the RUC had failed to act on the warning. The killing has long been seen as further evidence of state collusion with loyalists.

The commemoration will assemble at the Springfield Park/Springfield Road at 2pm tomorrow (Saturday).

Speaking ahead of the event, Paul’s brother Eugene Thompson said: “Paul’s murder happened after the fence on Springfield Park was deliberately left open. The RUC took a calculated risk by leaving it open and the gunmen waited in relative safety. The security cameras on the nearby barracks were switched off before the shooting, and there was no attempt to apprehend or pursue Paul’s killers. The weapon used to kill Paul was part of an arms cache brought in from South Africa with the help of the British state.

“The original inquest into Paul’s murder was never concluded despite uncovering the lies of the NIO and the RUC. As a family, we deserve a fresh inquest.”

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