|« Pointless||Why I Can't Vote Alliance: Reason 1 »|
Joined Hunger Strike: 15th March
Suicided: 12th May
From Bellaghy in the south of Co. Londonderry, Hughes was once described by the police as the most wanted man in Northern Ireland. His father was a farmer and former member of the old IRA. Francis himself, youngest of 10 siblings, was a member of the Official IRA before joining the Provisional IRA following the split.
The story goes that at 17 he and a friend were beaten by an army patrol as they returned home from a dance one night. Believing that complaining to the RUC would be fruitless, Hughes vowed to get even and so began his terrorist career, fuelled by the desire for vengeance.
His desire for revenge didn't impede his sense of humour though. Clearly a reckless individual, he once shot at his uncle's rear wheel as he cycled down a country road (his uncle then ran away screaming that loyalists had tried to kill him).
At 25, he had already mounted a series of terrorist operations. Days after he and some fellow "volunteers" successfully evaded arrest by the police (killing two officers in the process), Hughes was injured in, and captured following, a gun battle with the SAS. This time, one SAS man was killed and another wounded. After refusing to speak in custody, Hughes was convicted of the murder of the SAS man and sentenced to life in prison. He had been part of the first hunger strike and just a week after Sands's death, Hughes became the 2nd hunger striker to successfully kill himself by refusing food.