Plea to break ‘wall of silence’ 40 years on

Hadden's quarry
Hadden's quarry

“MARIAN’S death devastated our mother and left a huge void in all our lives”: These are the words of a family begging for information on the death of their teenage sister 40 years ago.

Marian Beattie (18) was found dead at an Aughnacloy quarry after going out on a rare night to a charity dance on March 30, 1973, with her brother, his band and a close friend.

Her family are now hoping that a fresh inquiry into her murder will bring them some answers and peace of mind.

Meanwhile, an Aughnacloy source has contacted the Tyrone Times to say that the Beattie family and local police were met by ‘a wall of silence’ when the initial investigation was launched.

The individual, who did not want his name mentioned, claimed that there are people still alive in the area who know the truth of what happened that night and he urged them to come forward.

“Several hundred people were at the dance that night, and there has been a lot of conjecture over the years as to what exactly happened”, he said.

“It’s important that Marian’s family get some sort of closure on this tragic event and justice is done. The wider community also need to have this cleared up and suspicion removed from innocent parties.”

The decision by the Serious Crime Branch to reopen the murder investigation has been welcomed by the Beattie family.

Her brother Gerard said Marian’s death had “devastated” their mother and left a huge void in all their lives.

He said, “I know nothing will bring her back but we are appealing to anyone with information to contact police.”

And while the reopening of the inquiry into her murder has reawakened painful memories, the Beattie family is hopeful it may bring them closer to finding out what happened to Marian that night.

Eighteen-year-old Marian, who Gerard recalls rarely went out, had asked her mother Violet’s permission to go to the dance.

Her older brother Isadore’s band was playing at it and Marian and her friend had travelled down with her brother and the band in their van.

Said Gerard, “My mother would have been very protective of us and she only let Marian go because Isadore was going.”

On the morning after the dance, Gerard was outside playing football with his younger brother Fergal when he was called into the house by his sister Una who said their father Paddy needed to speak to them.

He said, “I remember thinking we must have done something wrong and we were in trouble.”

In the living room, a priest was waiting and broke the news that their sister had been found dead. Said Gerard, “I didn’t know what to say. I was dumbfounded. The ground just opened.

“My mother was in Lurgan visiting her sister. I remember the doctor being called to come and give her an injection.”