Monday 7 September 2020


The Provisional IRA murdered a German woman near Dortmund in West Germany.  The 26-year-old was sitting in a car outside the married quarters of the Unna-Massen British Army base.  She was married to a staff sergeant in the army and the car had UK registration plates.  An IRA gunman disguised as a soldier approached the vehicle and opened fire with an AK-47 assault rifle.  Heidi Hazell was struck by more than a dozen bullets and was killed instantly.

A soldier who was nearby heard the gunfire and as he went to investigate saw two men escaping in an old black Capri.  The IRA admitted responsibility for the attack and said its members believed Mrs Hazell to be a member of the British Army.  It did not apologise and merely warned that civilians should “keep well clear of British military personnel”.

Heidi Hazell was born Heidi Schnaars in the West German town of Worpswede.  She had been married to a British soldier for three years.  Two decades on her niece Melanie Anan led a campaign for the murder case to be be reopened.  The original murder investigation was closed in 1993, but was reopened in 2015 in light of new evidence.  Germany is not bound by the Good Friday Agreement and initial inquiries centred on five IRA suspects, one of whom was shot dead by the SAS in 1990.  Dessie Grew was killed alongside a Sinn Fein councillor as they tried to retrieve three rifles from a farm building.

Heidi Hazell and her husband