Stephen Montgomery



28 January 1989









Royal Ulster Constabulary



Homicide - Bomb

Duty Status


On Duty

Roll of Honour Citation

Fatally injured when a terrorist bomb was thrown at his parked police car.

Constable Montgomery was on mobile patrol duty in Sion Mills in the early hours of 28th January 1989. Shortly before 1am, a member of the bar staff flagged down the armoured police car as it was passing Marshalls’ bar. He told the police officers a disco was taking place in the function room and a fight had broken out. After the police car had pulled in at the roadside at the entrance to the bar, one of the police officers got out of the car to give cover to his colleagues in the vehicle.


In fact, the fight in the bar had been a sham; staged at just the right time so as to prompt the unsuspecting member of staff to go outside looking for help. Above the entrance to Marshalls’ bar was a flat roof where a terrorist had been hiding, awaiting his target to come into position. Seconds after the police car came to a halt, the terrorist dropped a drogue bomb – a homemade grenade – onto the vehicle’s unarmoured roof, exploding on impact and wrecking the car.


Constable Montgomery was fatally injured in the blast, and a Reserve Constable was badly hurt, loosing an eye. The third police officer escaped relatively unscathed and was able to radio for assistance, which arrived within minutes.


As civilians, police and soldiers attempted to help the wounded policemen, the patrons at the disco spilled out onto the main road and began taunting them, laughing and jeering at the wreckage of the police car. As the 200-strong mob became more raucous, stones and bottles were thrown at the security forces as they tended to their injured colleagues. One soldier was struck in the head by a bottle as he struggled to pull the injured officers from the wreckage of their vehicle, and a female civilian was knocked to the ground by the mob. Ambulance crews summoned to the scene had difficulty getting through as rioters blocked their way. Security forces said they fired a plastic bullet in an attempt to disperse the crowd.


The Church of Ireland minister in Sion Mills, arrived quickly at the scene of the murder. He said, “The crowd cheered at the death of a policeman. The entire community is horrified by what happened.”


An RUC colleague paid tribute to the career policeman: “Stephen worked in Castlederg regularly to make up numbers on night duty. A good lad, and very nice to work with.” Constable Montgomery was described as a devoted husband and father, who telephoned his wife every evening he was on duty to reassure her he was okay. He had not had the chance to call his wife the night he was murdered.


Colleagues walked alongside the hearse as it made its way down Omagh’s Main Street. Constable Montgomery was later buried at St John’s Parish Church in Fivemiletown.



Constable Montgomery was living in Omagh with his then pregnant wife and their 15-month-old daughter at the time of his murder.