Vandals cause £1k damage to murder victim’s memorial

August 15, 2016

The widow of a murder victim whose body was dumped by the roadside in south Armagh almost forty years ago has been greatly distressed by damage caused to a memorial in his memory, local Unionist politicians have said.

Condemning the vandalism of the memorial stone and plaque dedicated to Hugh Clarke on the Carricknagavanagh Road near Mullaghbawn, MLA Danny Kennedy and Councillor David Taylor issued a joint statement describing the attack as “disgusting and hurtful in the extreme to the widow and family circle of William Clarke who was abducted and murdered in very cruel circumstances nearly forty years ago”.

Hugh Clarke, a 31-year-old father-of-three was found lying on the roadside at Redmond’s Cross in April 2, 1977.  He had been digging drains at a farm in Mullaghbawn when he was abducted by three masked men.  He was then driven a short distance before being shot.

This is the second time a memorial to Mr Clarke has been targeted with the previous mahogany piece stolen just two days before Christmas 2014.

Mr Kennedy said this latest attack is “entirely reprehensible and completely devoid of feeling after nearly forty years – those responsible are the lowest of the low”.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein MP Mickey Brady said such attacks achieve nothing.

“A number of republican monuments were attacked in Newry in the run up to the 12th of July and I would say the same thing to the people who carried out this attack as I did to the people who attacked the Newry monuments, your actions are deplorable and they serve only to stir up hurt and hate,” he said.

“I would urge anyone considering such actions to remember that all our dead, on all sides, left family and friends behind. What purpose can there possibly be in taunting already grieving families?  Let the dead rest in peace, let their families live in peace and find a more constructive use for your energy.”

Police have estimated the damage to be in the region of £1,000.

It is thought that the incident occurred sometime between midnight and 8am on Saturday 6th August and the police are treating the incident as a sectarian hate crime

They are appealing for anyone who might have information which may assist the investigation to contact them at Newtownhamilton Police Station on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 1271 of 07/08/16. Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.