The first in a series of attacks on businessmen in Northern Ireland, the terrorists justified the murder in the following statement:
"The war is not merely a conflict between Republicans and British forces, it is a conflict between the interests which those forces represent. Those involved in the management of the economy serve British interests. They represent and maintain economic interests which make the war necessary".
IRA statement on the murder of Jeff Agate
The murder was widely condemned. A two minute silence was held at the DuPont factory and a mass protest took place in Londonderry drawing support from both sides of the community. The SDLP's Raymond McClean described Agate as "an honest and just human being of the highest calibre". The eulogy at his funeral was read out by Brian Faulkner, the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, a personal friend. Faulkner said that although Agate was an Englishman, he regarded himself as an Ulsterman and had been personally responsible for bringing thousands of jobs to Northern Ireland.
Jeffrey Agate OBE was 59-years-old and served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. He moved to Northern Ireland and joined DuPont as chief engineer in 1957. Five years later he became plant manager and later managing director. Following the murder his widow left Northern Ireland and returned to her native Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
The man convicted of Jeff Agate's murder has been a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly since 2004, having been released from prison ten years earlier. Sinn Fein's Raymond McCartney was also found guilty of the murder of a policeman, although both convictions were quashed in 2007.