Widow claims husband's 1973 murder was state-sanctioned and sues Ministry of Defence

Mary Hull is taking legal action over the death of her husband Jim Trainor.

The widow of a man shot dead in a sectarian attack nearly 50 years ago is suing the Ministry of Defence over claims that a secretive British Army unit was involved in his killing.

Mary Hull has also commenced legal action against the Chief Constable and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland amid suspicions that her husband Jim Trainor was a victim of “state-sanctioned murder”.

She said: “I am just hoping that I will finally get some answers and some form of justice.”

Mr Trainor, 23, was gunned down at the petrol station where he worked on Kennedy Way, west Belfast in January 1973.

His killer got out of a car which had pulled up at the garage, leaned over the roof and opened fire.

The attack was attributed to loyalist paramilitaries, but no group claimed responsibility, and no-one ever faced prosecution.

Lawyers representing Ms Hull said she now believes undercover soldiers within the Military Reaction Force (MRF) may have carried out the shooting.

The controversial Army unit has been the subject of a police investigation into allegations that some members randomly shot unarmed civilians in Belfast during the early 1970s.

Based on the methodology used, and the MRF being active in the area at that period, it is suspected to be involved in the killing of Mr Trainor.

Ms Hull has issued writs at the High Court in Belfast against the Ministry of Defence, the Chief Constable of the PSNI, and the Secretary of State.

She is claiming damages for alleged negligence and misfeasance in public office.

“I’m 70 now, and I can’t believe this has taken nearly 50 years,” Ms Hull explained.

“I feel sorry for the young girl I was at the time – I got absolutely no recognition or justice.”

Her solicitor, Gary Duffy of KRW Law, said: “All the typical features of an attack carried out by the MRF exist in this murder, from how the killing was carried out to time and place that it happened.”

Mr Duffy added: “The failures of the original RUC investigation only compound the suspicions that this was, in effect, state-sanctioned murder.”