Northern Ireland

Joanne Mathers: call for HET probe into 1981 murder

Joanne and Shane Mathers
Image caption Joanne Mathers and her son Shane

A man, whose wife was murdered by an IRA gunman almost 30 years ago, said he wants the case reopened and her killer brought to justice.

Mother-of-one, Joanne Mathers, 29, was shot dead as she collected census forms in the Gobnascale area of Londonderry in April 1981.

Lowry Mathers, from Bready, said he wants the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) to look at her murder.

"With the advances in technology they might now get the answers," he said.

"I would like the case re-opened and whoever was in charge of the IRA at that time brought to justice.

"Back then the only thing I was told was that the gun that killed her was used by the IRA for punishment shootings.

"Seemingly they have traces of blood at the house on Anderson Crescent where she was shot."

Mr Mathers said he has never understood how someone could shoot an innocent woman.

"I don't know how they can live with their conscience, and it's time we got justice."

Mr Mathers said he thought his life was over when his wife was killed.

Image caption Joanne Mathers was shot in Londonderry in 1981

"I just felt like a part of me had died," he said.

"I only coped because of my son Shane, I had a responsibility to do my best for him."

Shane Mathers was nearly two-years-old when his mother was shot and does not have any memory of her.

"He only has photographs and what I tell him," Mr Mathers said.

"I think it is so sad that she wasn't here to see the man he has grown into.

"She wasn't there for his first day at school, or to see him succeed - he ended up as deputy head boy at Foyle College.

"He went on to get a first class honours degree at Queens just like his mother and he's now senior town planner, just like she was," he added.

"Shane has done very well for himself and I'm just so proud of him.

"The best thing is that he's so like his mother, every time I see him I see Joanne."