Family of man beaten to death in Lisburn pub appeal for witnesses to come forward

editorial image

The family of a Catholic man who was beaten to death in a bar in Lisburn three decades ago have made a heartfelt plea for witnesses who were too frightened to speak to police at the time to come forward.

Thirty-year-old Paul Bradley was attacked by a UDA gang in the Tavern Bar in December 1986. He suffered fatal injuries after being beaten with pool cues, chairs and broken pint glasses.

Three men charged with the brutal killing were released six months later after prosecutors said there was no reasonable prospect of securing a conviction.

Police told Mr Bradley’s family that witnesses who’d been in the bar at the time of the attack were too frightened to testify.

But speaking to the Irish News this week, Mr Bradley’s brother Michael and sister Maureen appealed to people who witnessed the sickening attack on their brother to now speak out.

Michael Bradley said Lisburn was “a frightening place for Catholics” at the time of Paul’s murder and he understood why witnesses were reluctant to come forward.

“I know people were afraid and I can understand that, but 30 years have passed. Maybe their circumstances are different or maybe they’d feel safer now,” he said.

“I can’t imagine you could ever forget what happened. I’m sure those people still remember that day as well as we do and we would hope that they would now feel able to come forward.”

His sister added: “That anyone could do that to a person and get away with it, it’s just hard to live with.”

Meanwhile, the Bradley family’s solicitor, Kevin Winters, said they are to pursue a civil action against the police.

“We have engaged with the PPS and the Attorney General’s office in an effort to address the terrible injustice,” he told the Irish News.

“In the meantime the Bradley family confirm that they are to take civil proceedings against the police over the failed investigation.”

The Ulster Star tried to contact Mr Winters about the Bradley case. He hadn’t responded at the time of publication.