There were so many sectarian murders in Belfast in the 1970s that “ordinary” murders could almost go unnoticed. One such “forgotten killing” happened on MARCH 12th, 1971, when an intruder climbed over the back wall of Mrs. Rose Kearney’s house at 40, McCleery Street, Belfast, and beat her to death.

Her injuries were said to be so horrific that detectives refused to comment on exactly what happened. Rumours that she was raped were met simply by the answer that she “had been assaulted.”

Rose was a widow living alone and neighbours were concerned when they saw her curtains were still drawn. They looked through the letter box and saw her lying in the hallway.

The police homed in on a 33-year-old docker, Samuel Boyd, of Monargh Drive. Charged with Rose’s murder, he said, “I don’t know, honest to God I’m all mixed up.” At the County Courthouse on June 28th, 1971, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released after 15 years.