Police officers will gather later this month at a Tadcaster church to mark the 20th anniversary of the murder of a special constable by an IRA gunman. MIKE LAYCOCK looks back at the shooting that shocked the nation – and speaks to the parents of Glenn Goodman, who are still grieving 20 years on.

SPECIAL Constable Glenn Goodman was shot dead 20 years ago but his parents Brian and Margaret still visit his grave every day.

The couple say they will never forgive his killer Paul Magee, or comprehend why he did it, or accept his release from prison so soon after being given a 30-year minimum sentence for the cold-blooded murder.

“Glenn was such a nice man,” said Margaret. “Why would anyone want to kill him?”

She vividly recalls being woken early that Sunday morning to be told Glenn had been injured in a shooting incident, and then travelling with his wife, Fiona, to the hospital in Leeds where he had been taken.

She thought at first he might have been shot by a poacher. “It was only when I saw police cars at every junction along the way to Leeds that I began to realise this was something much bigger.”

When they got to Leeds, surgeons were desperately trying to save the lives of Glenn and his colleague, PC Sandy Kelly. Sandy was saved, but doctors had to break the news to Fiona that Glenn had died. “I can remember hearing her scream,” said Margaret.

She and her husband then entered a nightmare world, exacerbated by huge national media interest and intrusive cameramen outside their home, as police launched a huge manhunt to capture the gunmen.

The capture of the culprits and their subsequent trial at the Old Bailey brought little relief. The couple will never forget their experiences in the public gallery, where they say IRA sympathisers repeatedly taunted and provoked them, but always in whispers to avoid their expulsion from the courtroom.

Magee was given a life sentence, with the judge recommending he serve a minimum of 30 years. But if that brought any comfort to the couple, it was to be shattered by the Irish “peace process” and Good Friday agreement, which eventually heralded the early release of IRA prisoners from British jails.

The Goodmans fought a long and bitter campaign against Magee’s release, sending dozens of letters to Ministers including Prime Minister Tony Blair. In a letter to Mr Blair, they said: “Daily we live with the nightmare of Magee getting early release. We are appealing to you to utilise your powers of right and lawful justice. Consider the victim’s families and ensure that Magee serves his full 30-year sentence as awarded.”

They confronted Home Secretary Jack Straw face-to-face during a Ministerial visit to Wetherby Young Offenders’ Institution. He said he understood their feelings.

“If I was in their position, it would probably be my reaction,” he said.

On another occasion, they went to Full Sutton High Security Prison to meet Phil Wheatley, the Home Office’s Director of Dispersals in Prison, only to discover later from Sinn Fein that Magee was an inmate there and they had gone within yards of him.

They had a particular reason to oppose Magee’s release. During his trial, no mention was made of the IRA in case it prejudiced the jury. “It was treated as a cold-blooded murder. So why was he then treated as an IRA prisoner and released?” said Brian.

The couple are pleased their son will be remembered by special and regular police officers at a memorial service, to be held at 2pm on Thursday, June 14, at St Mary’s Parish Church in Tadcaster.

During the service the Goodmans will be presented with Glenn’s insignia, similar to the one pictured left.

They hope everyone in North Yorkshire, not just police officers, will remember a man who went out to do his duty for the local community one night and never came home again.

Events of that tragic night unfold

IT STARTED as a routine patrol in the early hours of a summer’s day – but it ended up with a Special Constable fatally wounded and a regular police officer fighting for his life, and with a massive manhunt under way to find those responsible.

Special Constable Glenn Goodman was accompanying PC Sandy Kelly as they toured Tadcaster in their patrol car on Sunday June 7, 1992, when their suspicions were aroused by a car parked close to one of the town’s breweries.

The vehicle was then driven off towards the A64, pursued by the policemen. After coming on to the dual carriageway, gunman Paul Magee opened fire, killing Glenn, who left a widow, Fiona, and a ten-month-old son, Tom. PC Kelly was shot four times but survived, although he subsequently suffered from post traumatic stress disorder.

The shooting sparked a massive manhunt lasting several days before the culprits were eventually caught. Magee and his accomplice, Michael O’Brien, were put on trial at the Old Bailey in London, and Magee was convicted and jailed for life, with a recommendation he should serve a minimum of 30 years. O’Brien was given an 18-year sentence for the attempted murder of two other police officers.

But the two men were only to serve a handful of years, after efforts to bring peace to Northern Ireland resulted in the Good Friday agreement, under which IRA prisoners were to be released from British jails.

Despite fierce opposition from Glenn’s parents, Brian and Margaret, Magee was transferred to a jail in Ireland in 1998 and in 2000 he was released, as was O’Brien.

It has never emerged what the pair were doing in North Yorkshire that fateful night.