Unidentified gunmen killed the British Ambassador to Holland and one of his Dutch servants in a daylight attack on Thursday (22 March) outside his residence in the centre of The Hague.
CU STILL OF British Ambassador, Sir Richard Sykes's car with bullet holes in window (TWO SHOTS)
CU STILL ambulance carrying person on stretcher
SVs OF street police and spectators outside Ambassador's residence
SV police looking at spot where Ambassador was shot, with blood on ground (TWO SHOTS)
GV PAN TO sign hospital (TWO SHOTS)
CU Secretary Alyson Bailes speaking in English to newsmen
BAILES: "We had just got into the ambassador's car, and I was sitting next to him in the back seat when the attack took place. I instinctively raised by handbag in front of my head to protect myself from the flying glass, and so saw nothing at all of what was happening. It was only when the chauffeur drove out into the street that I realised that the ambassador had been shot and was unconscious. I was not injured myself. The chauffeur then drove off as quickly as possible to the hospital."
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Background: Unidentified gunmen killed the British Ambassador to Holland and one of his Dutch servants in a daylight attack on Thursday (22 March) outside his residence in the centre of The Hague. Police and Embassy officials said the identity of the two men who killed fifty-eight year old Sir Richard Sykes and his nineteen-year-old footman, Karel Straub, was a mystery. But there was immediate speculation that the shooting, which police described as showing the marks of professionals, could have been the work of extremists seeking an end to the British presence in Northern Ireland. Sir Richard had been British Ambassador to Holland since June 1977.
SYNOPSIS: A police spokesman at The Hague said only four shots were fired at Sir Richard form a distance of some ten metres (10 yards), as he got into his Rolls-Royce limousine outside his residence. One bullet struck him in the head.
The ambassador lived in the centre of The Hague, and made his journey to the Embassy at the same time each morning. Police said the shots were fired from a small square behind a Roman Catholic church opposite the ambassador's house. Two men -- believed to be aged between thirty-five and forty-- fired the shots, but witnesses reported seeing only one weapon -- a long-barrelled pistol. The men fled on foot, leaving no trace.
After the attack, the ambassador was driven to the Westeinde Hospital by his chauffeur. A few minutes later, an ambulance collected the footman.
But both men died while undergoing operations. Sir Richard's secretary, who was present at the shooting, later made this statement to newsmen.