Killing of Heidi Hazell

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Heidi Hazell (24 September 1962[citation needed] – 7 September 1989) was a German citizen, murdered by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). The investigation into the murder of the German[1] citizen was reopened in March 2015. The German Federal Attorney may not regard the Good Friday Agreement as relevant in terms of favourable terms, e.g., reduced prison terms for IRA members, etc. The murder of Hazell, a German citizen, took place in Germany and the country is not bound by the agreement between the United Kingdom and Ireland.


Heidi Hazell was born in Worpswede, West Germany, as Heidi Schnaars.[citation needed] In 1986, she married a British soldier stationed in the country.[citation needed] On 7 September 1989, in Unna near Dortmund, Hazell was sitting in the family car at her home. She was approached by a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in British Army battle dress, who opened fire with a Kalashnikov automatic weapon, shooting her over a dozen times. The gunman got into a car driven by another person and drove away.[2]

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher branded the murder of Hazell as "evil and cowardly". Speaking during a visit to Forres Academy, she said: "Let this message get across: Terrorists don't hesitate to attack wives and children, people who are totally innocent. That shows the evil nature of the work they do." The Generalbundesanwalt investigated against five individuals, known to be involved in terrorist activity, amongst which was Dessie Grew. The investigation against Grew was closed upon his death on 9 October 1990. It was the second IRA attack in West Germany that week, a previous one resulting in two British soldiers shot near Münster.[citation needed]

In a statement released in Dublin the following day, the IRA said:

An IRA Active Service Unit carried out last night's shooting in West Germany. The woman killed was believed to have been a member of the British Crown Forces garrisoned in Dortmund. It has now emerged that she was the German wife of a British Army staff sergeant. As we intend continuing our campaign until the British Army withdraws from Ireland, the outcome of last night's attack reinforces a warning we gave on Aug. 2, 1988, for civilians to stay well clear of British military personnel. This warning applies to the use of vehicles personally belonging to British soldiers and all modes of military transport.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams responded to civilians that had been recently killed by the IRA, such as Hazell, husband and wife James and Ellen Sefton, Islania Niurati the six-month-old child of a British soldier in Germany, and teenager Terry Love, saying:

There can be no doubt where Sinn Fein stands on actions which lead to the deaths of civilians or injuries to civilians. I don't want to see anyone killed, much less a 19-year-old soldier, an Australian citizen or an Irish citizens, but there is a conflict. There is a war going on. People join armies to fight.

Campaign of Melanie Anan[edit]

Melanie Anan, the niece of Hazell, started campaigning for justice, she inquired with witnesses and spoke to the Police Service of Northern Ireland. On 9 March 2015, she spoke at the European Day for Victims of Terrorism at Stormont Parliament.[3] "Mrs Anan told the event that she finds it shocking that, in Northern Ireland, convicted terrorists are elected to government."[4]

On 16 March 2015, Anan wrote an open letter to President Barack Obama, which was subsequently published by the Belfast Telegraph. Turning to the President's relationship with Sinn Fein, Anan urged Obama to distance himself. "As we have been doing our research and inquiries as a family, we came across a picture of you and Gerry Adams; centered in the picture, Rita O'Hare, a wanted woman in Northern Ireland, as she shot a soldier in Northern Ireland," she wrote.[5] On 16 March 2015, Adams was denied entry into the White House to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.[6]

Reopening of investigation into murder[edit]

The Generalbundesanwalt, German Federal Attorney reopened the investigation into the murder of Hazell in March 2015.[7] New evidence introduced to the authorities led to the decision to reopen the case, which had been closed in 1993.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Niece of German IRA victim to speak at Stormont", News Letter, 08 March 2015. Retrieved on 23 November 2016.
  2. ^ "British Soldier's wife killed in attack claimed by IRA", AP News, 8 September 1989. Retrieved on 09 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Niece cries out for justice for German woman killed by IRA", Belfast Telegraph, 9 March 2015. Retrieved on 20 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Justice has failed me, says woman who survived deadly UVF ambush", Belfast Telegraph, 10 March 2015. Retrieved on 20 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Niece of German IRA victim pleads with Barack Obama to keep distance from Sinn Fein", Belfast Telegraph, 18 March 2015. Retrieved on 20 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Gerry Adams expresses anger after being denied entry to White House", The Guardian, 16 March 2015. Retrieved on 20 April 2016.
  7. ^ Murder inquiry reopens "Murder inquiry reopens", BBC NEWS, UK, 8 April 2015. Retrieved on 09 April 2015.

External links[edit]

  • "Heidi Hazell: Germany 1989 IRA murder inquiry reopens". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  • "German authorities reopen probe into 1989 IRA murder". Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  • Kate Connolly. "Family of murdered British army wife still seeking justice, 25 years on | UK news". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  • "British Soldier's Wife Killed in Attack Claimed by IRA". Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  • Ferdinand Protzman (1989-09-09). "I.R.A. Gunman Kills Wife Of A Briton". West Germany; Ireland, Northern. Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  • "Woman's Killing a Mistake, IRA Says". 1989-09-09. Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  • "Thatcher attacks IRA's evil cowards who shot Army wife 'Psychopathic killer on the loose' (From HeraldScotland)". Retrieved 2016-11-23.