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How Much Does It Cost to Save a Life? - Part Two

The author is a QUB Pol Sci Honours graduate and has written extensively on imperialism, national liberation struggles and class issues.

RUC stations were and still are, veritable fortresses

RUC stations were and still are, veritable fortresses

After seeing the knife gang being taken away, Ryan was invited to make a fairly comprehensive Witness Statement to Belfast's finest. On completion, Ryan got a taxi to the hospital where Gavin was being treated. Ryan used a white lie, telling the medical staff that he was a relative and got a quick look at Gavin, in a very bad way, getting his clothes cut off him by trauma staff, as a hasty build-up began of various drips, machines and other types of medical kit.

Just as Ryan was about to urgently contact Gavin's relatives, from a door, stage right, entered two plainclothes cops, accompanied by their colleagues from an armored RUC Landrover, and British soldiers' from two escorting British Army Landrovers. It very soon became clear that Ryan's company was desperately needed, and from whatever databases they'd consulted THIS time their attitudes were a lot more hostile than when he'd made a Witness Statement only 30 minutes earlier. It may seem bizarre but to 'relay' this particular witness from Belfast's main trauma hospital in West Belfast, it required:

  • Two British Army jeeps
  • 1 RUC armored Landrover
  • Either a soft or hard-skinned (armor) civilian type car

Community Policing..


Ryan was then driven back to South Belfast in a civilian-type CID car, escorted by: one RUC Landrover and two Brit jeeps. Such was the depravity of the times.

By this time, the plainclothes RUC were now openly hostile to Ryan and very insistent that another witness statement be made, by Ryan. back at crime scene central and in double-quick time.

Ryan, who was not anthropologically strange to the nefarious practices of the dear old RUC, insisted that on each page of the witness statement it was to be co-signed, stating that this account was not given under caution. The two detectives asking the questions were becoming increasingly hostile and after 45 minutes of questioning and intimidation tactics, Ryan informed them that he was going home, as he had been told that he was not under arrest. Aside from anything else, Ryan was extremely concerned about his friend and had been through one hell of an ordeal himself.

Begrudgingly, the detectives permitted Ryan to leave their vehicle and he headed home, to a couple of bottles of beer.


After returning home, Ryan finally took the opportunity to contact Gavin's parents and brother, who he had only managed to speak to briefly at the hospital, via telephone, before the police arrived. Ryan relayed as much as he knew and the family was, understandably, very distressed, as it was touch-and-go for Gavin, who remained in Intensive care. The head of the nursing team had informed Ryan, at the hospital, that he had almost certainly saved Gavin's life, by acting swiftly and stemming the bleeding.

As it was approaching 6 am, at this point, Ryan was contemplating trying to get some sleep. As soon as Ryan's head hit the pillow, he heard the front door of his flat being booted repeatedly. Ryan looked out the back window and noticed several uniformed cops with the standard Heckler and Koch MP5s hanging around the back entrance to his flat, which was a third story studio apartment with a fire escape. Ryan went to his front window, where the detectives yelled for him to come outside, as they wished to speak to him. It was fairly certain, in Ryan's mind, that an arrest was imminent, namely, his own. Ryan made his way down the three flights of stairs unshod, perhaps forgetting or not realizing that the times of voluntarily relaxing without footwear around his flat would be coming to an end very shortly.

After the detectives from the Serious Crime Squad formally arrested him at the bottom floor of his flat, he asked could he return upstairs to put a pair of Adidas trainers on? This was permitted and he was accompanied to the third floor to do so. After this, Ryan was handcuffed, placed in one of the RUC's standard armored Landrovers and taken to Musgrave Street Serious Crime Suite. Needless to say, there was nothing 'suite' about this heavily fortified interrogation and custody center with major bars everywhere but not a mini-bar to be found.

Continued in Part Three


© 2019 Liam A Ryan

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