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Widow of young constable killed in bomb attack in heartfelt anniversary appeal

Constable Stephen Montgomery, aged 26 and from Omagh, was killed, while a colleague was seriously injured, when a drogue bomb was thrown at their patrol vehicle in Sion Mills in January 1989

The widow of a young County Tyrone police officer has used the 23rd anniversary of his murder to make a heartfelt plea for help to bring his killers to justice.

Detectives from Legacy Investigation Branch, investigating the murder of Constable Stephen Montgomery in Sion Mills in January 1989, are asking anyone who can help to come forward.

Constable Montgomery was killed when a drogue bomb was thrown at his patrol vehicle in Sion Mills in January 1989.

A colleague was seriously injured and a third officer escaped serious injury.

In the aftermath of the attack, officers and soldiers tending to Constable Montgomery and his injured colleague were attacked by a number of persons who had been in the bar.

Constable Montgomery was a 26-year-old married man living in Omagh. He had a 15-month-old daughter and his wife was pregnant with their son when the young police officer was murdered.

His children grew up never knowing their father and he never had the opportunity to see them grow up.

Speaking about Constable Montgomery’s murder his widow Valerie said: “If anyone has any information, no matter how small, then please, please, for the sake of my family and I, contact the Police, Crimestoppers or An Garda Siochána and give me and my family the chance for some kind of closure.”

The Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Byrne from Legacy Investigation Branch said: “Stephen, along with two colleagues, were on mobile patrol in Sion Mills during the early hours of Saturday 28 January 1989.  Shortly before 1am his police vehicle stopped outside Marshalls’ bar after being flagged down by a member of the bar staff.

“It is suspected that two terrorists, who had been hiding on the roof of the bar, threw the drogue bomb at the police vehicle.  It detonated on the roof of the vehicle killing Stephen instantly and seriously injuring his colleague.  The terrorists then made off on foot into Primrose Park.

“Stephen was a young man murdered while serving the community of Sion Mills and the wider Co Tyrone area.  This is in stark contrast to the terrorists responsible for this brutal murder.

“My appeal today is aimed at those people who were socialising in the bar on the night Stephen was murdered.  Were you at the bar on that night and did you witness the attack on Stephen and his colleagues?

“The terrorists had made their way onto the roof of the bar and lay in wait for a period of time before Stephen and his colleagues arrived.  I believe that someone must have seen them before or after the attack or will know who these individuals were.  Did you see them make their way into Primrose Park after the attack?”

Detective Chief Inspector Byrne continued: “In the years since Stephen’s murder people’s circumstances and allegiances may have changed.

“I am appealing to anyone with any knowledge of what happened that night, whether as a witness or from personal involvement, who have not spoken to police previously to do so now.  It is not too late, if anyone now feels they are able to talk to us, we are ready to listen.

“To those involved I would appeal to them to do the right thing and help to bring some closure to Stephen’s family. They will no longer have to live with the worry that police are going to knock on their door.”

Anyone with information can contact detectives in Legacy Investigation Branch on 101 or LIBEnquiries@psni.pnn.police.uk.  You can also submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/ or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org/.

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