Tuesday 21 July 2020


The Provisional IRA shot dead a Protestant man in Maghera, Co Londonderry.  43-year-old John Hazlett, a local handyman, was killed outside a shop in Bank Square.  He was helping to renovate the property.  Just after 09:30 in the morning a blue van pulled up outside from which a gunman emerged and fired six times at Mr Hazlett.  The handyman died almost instantly.  The van, which had been hijacked, was later found abandoned.

Neighbours told reporters that Mr Hazlett was not politically active and the police said there was no obvious motive for the IRA to have killed him.  An IRA statement later claimed that the murder was "an accident due to mistaken identity".  This led to the suggestion that the terrorists' original target was a former part-time member of the Ulster Defence Regiment who had also been working on the renovation, but who wasn't there on the day of the attack.  It was never never proven that this was their intention, although as the man was no longer a serving soldier it appears that either way the IRA were out to kill a Protestant civilian that day.

The IRA statement was condemned at Mr Hazlett's funeral.

"Such a dastardly deed as has taken place can never be excused, even by someone making the profound observation 'We have made a mistake'.  Friends, some mistakes are so permanent and so final that they cannot be rectified.  Apologies cannot exchange the coffin for the chair, they cannot give sparkle to a tear-dimmed eye, nor bring joy to a desolate and broken-hearted family".
Presbyterian minister at John Hazlett's funeral

John Hazlett was survived by his wife and two children.