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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Appeal for information on 40th anniversary of the murder of Constable John Eagleson

Detectives from Legacy Investigation Branch are appealing for information on the 40th anniversary of the murder of Part-Time Reserve Constable John Eagleson outside Cookstown on 1 October 1982.

John was shot and killed as he travelled to work on the Upper Kildress Road, near Drum Manor Forest Park outside Cookstown.

John was a 49 year old married man who lived in Cookstown.  He had two daughters and a son, Clive, who was only 13 years old when his father was murdered.

Detective Inspector Nicola Galway from Legacy Investigation Branch said:

“Shortly after 6am on Friday 1 October 1982 John was riding his Honda motorcycle along the Upper Kildress Road when he was shot in the chest. He sadly died from his wounds at the scene.

"I believe the gunman made their escape in a yellow coloured Datsun 100A car, VRM BJI 6435 that had been hijacked in the Cookstown area the previous evening.  The car was found a few hours later abandoned off the main Omagh to Cookstown Road approximately 4 miles from the murder scene.

“There were no witnesses to the murder and John was discovered lying beside his motorcycle around 6.30am by members of the public travelling along the same stretch of road.

“This was a brutal attack on a family man who was on his way to work in a local cement plant.  Shot and left to die on a country road for no other reason than he was a Part-Time Police Officer who gave up his time to serve the local community in Cookstown.

“Forty years have now passed since John’s murder and I am appealing for anyone who has any knowledge of what happened that day, whether as a witness or from personal involvement, who have not spoken to police previously to do so now.  I am appealing to anyone who may have been travelling on the Upper Kildress Road either before or after the murder and who may have witnessed the yellow Datsun car in the area.“

Anyone with information can contact detectives in Legacy Investigation Branch on 101 or  You can also submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at”


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