The Murder of Seamus Ludlow in County Louth, May 1976. Towards a public inquiry?
Introduction to the murder of Seamus Ludlow and the official cover-up.
The recent Campaign for Truth and Justice.
Other Ludlow Family Sites.
The Dundalk Democrat, 13 February 1999:
Report on Ludlow murder
It is over twenty years since the body of 47-year-old Mountpleasant man Seamus Ludlow was discovered in a laneway close to his home and on Thursday night next in the Dundalk Town Hall, his family will hold a public meeting urging for an independent public inquiry into the May 1976 murder, writes Anne-Marie Eaton.
Earlier on the same day a meeting will be held in Buswells Hotel, Dublin on the same subject. Jane Winters of the British Irish Rights Watch (a non-governmental organization) will be present for both meetings and will discuss her report on the death of Seamus Ludlow.
The report covers incidents from Saturday 1st May 1976 when Seamus was seen hitching a lift, having left the Lisdoo Arms, Newry Road, to the next day when his body was discovered just half a mile from his home in Culfore, to the present day investigation into the murder.
As this paper reported previously, the family were very upset over the manner in which the inquest into Seamus' death was carried out on the 19th August 1976 - with no family members present. This was reiterated in the report. Ms Winters notes that while three typed depositions by the State Pathologist, Sgt Gannon and Kevin Ludlow (Seamus' brother) have been obtained "no other original documents which are likely to be relevant to an inquest, such as formal findings or verdict, directions to register the death, ballistics or forensic reports have been seen."
Forty-five minutes prior to the inquest, a member of the Gardai called to the house of Kevin Ludlow. However, Kevin was at work and could not be contacted in time. At the bottom of a deposition by Kevin Ludlow, which is unsigned and undated, a hand-written note by the coroner says - "not in attendance away on holiday - just back, Working in Newry. Could not be contacted."
On 16th January 1997, in a letter to the solicitors of Seamus' sister, Mrs Nan Sharkey, Detective Sergeant Gannon admitted that "a member attached to Dundalk Station had, at that time, been given the task of notifying witnesses and family at the inquest but, it appears, he overlooked your client. I only became aware of this on the date of the inquest did everything I could to correct the situation."
A report of the inquest in the "Dundalk Democrat" at the time made no reference to a ballistics report. The verdict in accordance with medical evidence that death was due to gunshot wounds was returned.
In recent years further evidence has come to light as to who killed Seamus Ludlow. Perhaps the most vital piece of information to come to the Ludlow family's attention was an interview in the national press with Paul Hosking, who admitted to being an eye-witness to the murder. He detailed that two of the three involved were UDR members, while all three were Red Hand Commandos. One of the men was from Bangor and nicknamed "Mambo".
Hosking had met them in Comber and spent the day with three men in a number of pubs. They travelled in a two-door yellow Datsun and were waved through a permanent British Army checkpoint after the driver showed his UDR pass. They went to Omeath, where they spent about an hour in a pub there. The group then went on to Dundalk where they met a man thumbing a lift. The man got into the back of the car.
Within a short while, the man (Seamus Ludlow) indicated where he lived. Hosking then said the car turned into a road known as the Bog Road and reversed up a side lane. Hosking got out of the car and as he turned his back to the vehicle gunshots were fired.
"Mambo" pulled Seamus' body out of a car while another man pushed the body out. The body was thrown on a hedge. Hosking was ordered to get back in the car. The car returned to Northern Ireland, and Hosking and one of the UDR men, a Captain, was dropped off in Killyleagh, where, Hosking said, he was threatened.
In the late 1980s, Hosking met with a Special Branch officer in Northern Ireland and gave details of the murder, after which, he says, the officer told him "Forget it, it's political."
On 16th May, 1996, the case into the murder of Seamus Ludlow was re-opened by the Gardai. In February 1998 four men were detained at Castlereagh Holding Centre, including Paul Hosking, in relation to the Ludlow murder. They were released without charge and a file has since been prepared and sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland.
The family wish for Seamus to be brought to justice and also to clear his name. On numerous occasions, the family claim, the Gardai cited Seamus as an IRA informer. The report states that "two family members were told separately and by different members of the Gardai that Seamus Ludlow had been killed by the IRA for informing and that other family members had known about the planned killing beforehand.
The report also deals with the interest taken in the murder by the British Army, detailing an incident the day after Seamus' funeral involving a British Army patrol which called to the home of Kevin Donegan (Seamus' brother-in-law, now deceased).
The patrol informed him they had been instructed by the RUC to "find out about the line of inquiry being pursued by the Gardai." Kevin refused to talk with them. However, when he did go to Forkhill Barracks, he was airlifted to Bessbrook army base, where he was questioned for over an hour.
The public meeting in Dundalk on Thursday night will commence at 8.00 pm