When Gerry Kelly shot Prison Officer John Adams Through the Head

The “Report of an Inquiry by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons into the security arrangements at HM Prison, Maze” records that Gerry Kelly shot Prison Officer John Adams through the head for attempting to obstruct the escape:

2.05 One member of staff who attempted to resist the takeover was Senior Officer ***. While he and Acting Principal Officer *** were being covered by [Brendan] Mead, he succeeded in knocking the gun away, but a blow to the jaw and a threat by [Bobby] Storey to shoot Mr. *** subdued him.

Officer [John Adams] was another who tried to frustrate the takeover. Lying on the floor of the communications room, he surreptitiously raised himself up in an attempt to reach his stave when he thought [Gerry] Kelly’s attention had been diverted.

Before he could do so [Gerry] Kelly fired two shots at him: he collapsed on the floor with a bullet through the head.

Much later, John Adams was able to dictate his own police statement describing events leading up to the shooting:

“At 2.20pm Prisoner 58, Kelly, appeared at the grille with a gun pointed at me. He told me not to touch any of the controls or warnings. He then told me to open the gate which I did do. He said, “I have nothing to lose you know what I’m in for.” He then told me to get down on the ground, put my hands behind my head, this was inside the control room.

Kelly was distracted by something and turned away from me. I jumped up and slammed the door and tried to lock it, but it was forced open.

Kelly then came back into the control room and fired two shots. The first one missed me and the second hit me above my left eye, entering my head. I collapsed to the floor.

I don’t know how long I lay there before I got medical attention.”

Statement of John Adams

The Inquiry report records that Dermot Finucane, brother of murdered IRA solicitor, Pat Finucane, went on a stabbing rampage with a chisel:

2.19 At about this time Officer Ferris, chased by [Dermot] Finucane, ran from the gate lodge shouting to the officer at the pedestrian gate to secure it and sound the alarm.

He had been stabbed three times in the chest. Before he was able to reach the gate, he collapsed and later died.

[Dermot] Finucane continued on to the pedestrian gate where he stabbed two officers who had just entered the prison.

Officer ***, the officer on gate duty, had no time to sound the alarm or secure the gate before he too was stabbed.

Unarmed Prison Officers chased armed prisoners:

2.24 Back at the main gate, prison officers were chasing after the only two prisoners who had not already reached the outer fence.

Officer *** was one of those engaged in the pursuit. He was shot in the leg by one of the prisoners who then ran on up the hill before he himself was shot in the leg by the soldier in the watch-tower, and recaptured. The other prisoner fell near the wire and was also recaptured.

Unarmed Prison Officers helped to recapture prisoners:

2.25 Senior Officer *** left the gate lodge and called upon the group of staff outside the main gate to give chase. Only three officers responded; they were later joined by a police officer and a soldier.

After searching for some time they found four of the escaped prisoners, including [Bobby] Storey, hiding in the River Lagan, about half a mile from the prison. All were captured. At the external gate the Prison Guard Force went in pursuit of the three prisoners who had escaped from the hi-jacked car.

2.27 These operations resulted in the recapture of three prisoners at vehicle check points in the next 24 hours. One prisoner was captured by an Army patrol at 11.00 p.m. that night. Two more prisoners were arrested by an RUC patrol near Castlewellan on 26 September, and two prisoners were captured in a nearby house the next day. In all 19 prisoners were recaptured – three in the gate lodge.

One prison officer died, two were shot and thirteen were beaten:

2.28 Of the prison staff who had been on duty in the prison on 25 September one, Officer James Ferris, died.

Four others were stabbed, two were shot, thirteen were kicked about and beaten, and forty-two were subsequently off work with nervous disorders.

Gerry Kelly, Brendan ‘Bik’ McFarlane and Bobby Storey for years offered an evening of entertainment (to mostly young men) at only £10 a head recounting the brave tale of shooting, stabbing and beating the unarmed prison officers, at venues including The Patrician Hall in Carrickmore, originally built and run by the Catholic church before its ownership was transferred to the local community [no objections from the Catholic church to The Patrician Hall being used to glorify IRA murders].

Only £10 per head at the door

In one sense, Prison Officers James Ferris and John Adams have had the last laugh at the expense of Gerry Kelly, Bobby Storey, Bik McFarlane and the rest of the IRA.

Gerry Kelly and fellow IRA leaders are nowadays part and parcel of the United Kingdom Stormont administration in the pay of Her Majesty’s Government helping to imprison dissenting IRA volunteers in Maghaberry Prison.

Gerry Kelly, from Prisoner to Prison Guard

Before it disbanded its lower ranks, destroyed most of its weapons and explosives and surrendered, the IRA Army Council had misled many young men into negating the Human Rights and Civil Rights of all of their many victims in the name of forcing a United Ireland by means of a campaign of murder, bombing and terror:

PRISONERS WHO ESCAPED

NameOffence(s)Sentence(s)
K.B.J. ARTTMurderLife
P. BRENNANPossessing Explosives16 years
J.J. BURNSMurderLife
S. CAMPBELLPossessing Explosives14 years
J.P. CLARKEAttempted Murder18 years
S.J. CLARKEMurderLife
H.J. COREYMurderLife
D. CUMMINGSMurderLife
J.G. DONNELLYConspiracy to Murder15 years
D. FINUCANEPossessing Firearms and Ammunition18 years
K.G. FLEMINGMurder and Wounding with IntentSecretary of State’s Pleasure and Life
J.G. FRYERSArmed Robbery20 years
W.G. GORMANMurderSecretary of State’s Pleasure
P.C. HAMILTONMurderLife
P.A. KANEAttempted Murder18 years
A. KELLYMurderSecretary of State’s Pleasure
G. KELLYCausing Explosion x 2Life x 2
R. KERRMurder x 2Life x 2
T. KIRBYMurderLife
A. McALLISTERMurderLife
J. P. McCANNAttempted Murder25 years
G.P. McDONNELLPossessing Explosives16 years
S.T. McELWAINEMurderLife
B. J. McFARLANEMurderLife
S. McGLINCHEYMurderLife
P.J. McINTYREAttempted Murder15 years
P.O. McKEARNEYPossessing Firearms and Ammunition14 years
M.G. McMANUSPossessing Firearms with intent15 years
D.J. McNALLYCausing ExplosionLife
B.J.P. MEADMurderLife
H.H. MURRAYMurderLife
M.L. MURRAYConspiracy to Murder20 years
E.J. O’CONNORMurderLife
J.G. ROBERTSMurderSecretary of State’s Pleasure
R.P. RUSSELLAttempted Murder20 years
J. SIMPSONAttempted Murder20 years
J.J. SMYTHAttempted Murder20 years
R. STOREYPossessing Firearms and Ammunition18 years

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