Posted online: Sep 27th, 2010
A County Derry man has been arrested by police investigating the shooting of an RUC man in Magherafelt 29 years ago.
The 54-year-old man was arrested in Swatragh on Monday morning and taken to Antrim PSNI holding centre for questioning.
John Proctor was shot dead in the car park of the Mid Ulster Hospital on September 14, 1981, minutes after visiting his wife and new born baby son.
The dead man, who was from Upperlands, had been a member of the RUC Reserve for two years.
The father-of two was killed just hours after carrying the coffin of his neighbour and friend Alan Clarke.
A full time member of the UDR, Mr Clarke was shot dead by the IRA as he walked along Hall Street, Maghera, two days earlier, on September 12.
The 20-year old lived with his parents at Alexander Park in Upperlands.
A female witness told an inquest in 1982 that she saw the passenger of a car, dressed in Khaki and holding a riffle, drive past her. Seconds later she saw Mr Clarke lying at the side of the road.
According to the witness the young man called for help before drifting into unconsciousness.
In October 1981 an open air service in memory of the two men was held in Upperlands under the auspices of the Royal Black Preceptory.
The two friends died just weeks before the end of the 1981 Hunger Strike.
An increase in violence during the year led to the deaths of 117 people across the North.
The South Derry Brigade of the IRA admitted responsibility for killing both men and threatened to intensify its campaign against the RUC and British Army.
The Deputy Chief Constable of the RUC at the time, Michael McAtamney, claimed that reinforcements were being sent into South Derry in a bid to deal with the rising republican threat.
The day after Mr Proctor’s death James Prior took up his new post as Secretary of State.