Although it is 40 years since his sister Marian was found murdered after a night out, the pain is still raw for Portadown man Gerard Beattie.
Sitting in his living room in Garvaghy Park- the same living room where as a 13-year-old he received the dreadful news of his sister’s death - Gerard remembers the sequence of events of March 30, 1973 as if it were yesterday.
And while the reopening of the inquiry into her murder - she was found at the bottom of a quarry after attending a charity dance in Aughnacloy - 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.
“Marian’s death absolutely killed my mum. It devastated her. She was never the same afterwards - she just used to sit in the chair and cry.”
Gerard, now a grandfather, remembers his sister Marian as being “absolutely brilliant”.
He said, “She was very good to my mother and father. She played camogie and she was very good at table tennis. I still have her bat upstairs. She was just a normal, happy girl, who never caused any bother. There has been an empty space since she died.”
Marian’s siblings, Brendan, Una, Isadore, Jim, Gerard and Fergal, are appealing to anyone with information to contact detectives.