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Police officer in IRA chase speaks out
A POLICE officer who lead the high speed car chase for the IRA terrorists responsible for the Gas Works bombing has spoken of it for the first time in 20 years.
Andy McKay, aged 66, of Montgomery Close, Chapelford, was serving with Greater Manchester Police when he got a call to pursue men believed to have committed a burglary.
He said: “I hadn’t got a clue who they were “It was a high speed pursuit through Trafford Park in Manchester “Usually if there has been a burglary they chuck what they have out of the window.
“They didn’t do that - instead, they started shooting.
“A bullet came in through the front of the car and up through the roof.
“In one way I was excited, in another way a bit frightened, actually.
“It’s not every day that somebody is trying to kill you.”
The police officer of 34 years said adrenaline kept him going during the chase on February 26, 1993.
The men had gunned down PC Mark Toker on Sankey Street and were attempting to flee.
“They put six bullets through the car,” said Andy.
“The guy in the boot was wriggling around and knocked the cap off the petrol tank.
“We kept following them at speed and eventually my car blew up because the coolant system had overheated.
“They thought they were running out of petrol so they got out on the hard shoulder.
Other GMP officers made the arrest, with a holdall found by Andy and his colleagues.
It was later found to contain explosive semtex and a stash of guns. Andy’s role in the chase became quickly known.
“I ended up on the front of the Sinn Fein newspaper and officers from special branch were camped outside of our house for a few days,” he said.
“My wife was scared to death of course.”
He was awarded a medal for bravery by the Queen following the chase, but says he has now ‘moved on’ from his heroics.
“I’ve not spoken of it for 20 years.
“The anniversary has brought it back.
“My wife used to have the photos up in the lounge but they were embarrassing, so I moved them to another room.
“I think it’s a shame that it happened, a terrible thing, but it was worse when they came back for Bridge Street.
“I have just tried to move on from it now.”