Kristian Nairn, who played Hodor on HBO's Game of Thrones, has revealed that he was present at a 1997 shooting in a gay club in Belfast.
Darren Bradshaw, a 24-year-old police officer, was shot and killed in May 1997 at the Parliament -- then the city's only LGBTQ+ venue. Although The Irish National Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the murder, the case remains unsolved to this day.
Nairn, who came out as gay in 2014, spoke about the incident for the first time on BBC's Blood on the Dance Floor podcast, which centers on the Darren Bradshaw case. The actor said that he and his friends had just arrived when the shooting occurred.
"We hadn't been there long, we'd probably had our first drink," Nairn shared, adding that he noticed Bradshaw standing at the bar. He then saw the attacker enter the room, disguised by a "weirdly drawn-on beard."
"He was nervous-looking, he was definitely looking for someone," the 6' 10" Game of Thrones star continued.
The man approached Bradshaw from behind and fired three shots into his back before fleeing the scene.
Remembering the tragedy, Nairn said he heard a "very loud bang-bang-bang sound" and saw a girl at the bar "covered in blood."
"It happened so fast. It was just like stunned silence, just like a bomb had gone off," he added. Nairn was one of hundreds of clubgoers left horrified in the wake of the incident.
"I made eye contact with him," Nairn said, "I think we all made eye contact with him as he was coming out."
The Parliament bar had been a "safe space" for Belfast's LGBTQ+ community, according to Nairn. But this community was left stunned by Bradshaw's killing.
Per the BBC, a destroyed getaway car was discovered after the shooting, suggesting that the attack was carefully planned. A number of arrests were made, but Bradshaw's murderer was never convicted.
The ripple effects of the shooting had a profound impact on Nairn, whose grandfather learned that he had been at a gay bar on the night that it occurred. "And that was how my grandfather found out I was gay," Nairn recalled, "and he threw me out of the house."
Nairn recently starred in the horror film Unwelcome and the Max — formerly known as HBO Max — series Our Flag Means Death.