THE Army Commander responsible for responding to the Droppin Well pub bombing in Ballykelly in 1982, said he was unable to accept the apology of one of the bombers when it was offered approximately 10 years ago.
Colonel Bob Stewart was serving as an infantry company commander in Northern Ireland at the time of the INLA atrocity, which killed seventeen people including six soldiers from his own company.
On 6 December 1982, as incident commander, Colonel Stewart was responsible for controlling and responding to the bombing.
In 1986, five people were convicted of involvement in the bombing. Anna Moore, 40, Helena Semple, 29, Eamon Moore, 25, and Patrick Shotter, 40, all received life sentences for multiple murder whilst, Jacqueline Ann Moore, 19, was given 10 years for manslaughter.
Colonel Stewart, who has since left the armed services has now revealed how approximately a decade ago one of the bombers approached him through a local media outlet in order to offer an apology for the massacre.
"My reaction was that I couldn't. The people she needed to apologise to were either not here anymore because they were killed in the bombing or were wounded," said Colonel Stewart.
The devastating bomb had been place next to a support pillar in the pub where soldiers from the nearby Ballykelly Army barracks were socialising.
When it exploded it caused the roof to collapse and many of those killed and injured were crushed by fallen masonry
Prime Minister of the time Margaret Thatcher described the Droppin Well attack as "one of the most horrifying crimes in Ulster's tragic history."