28 November 2005

Father calls on UVF to take no action

Daily Ireland

Connla Young

The father of a murdered Co Armagh teenager has called on the Ulster Volunteer Force to take no action against a suspected PSNI informer who may have been involved in his son’s death.
David McIlwaine and Andrew Robb, both from Portadown, were stabbed to death in a frenzied attack near Tandragee in 2000.
The two men Steven Brown, from Castle Place in Castlecaufield, Co Tyrone, and Mark Robert Burcombe, from Ballynahinch Road in Lisburn, Co Antrim, are currently on trial for the men’s murder.
However, a principal suspect remains at large but Daily Ireland cannot name him for legal reasons. He is a high-ranking member of the UVF in Co Armagh and has recently been the focus of an investigation by that organisation.
David McIlwaine and Andrew Robb were butchered with boning knives during a feud between the UVF and the Loyalist Volunteer Force. The feud was sparked when Portadown UVF commander Richard Jameson was gunned down in January 2000.
David McIlwaine’s father Paul last night urged the UVF to let justice take its natural course.
“We would call on the UVF not to act in any way that would endanger the life of this individual. We have always asked for justice to take its natural course without interference either from the paramilitaries and in particular the state.
“If current reports and rumours are fact, then this person needs to be held publicly accountable before the courts in an open and transparent manner.
“We simply want the truth. To do otherwise would be to deny us that truth. This is also a matter of public interest. One only has to think of the case of William Stobie in the Finucane case, and Stephen McCullough, a witness suspect to the killing of Daniel McColgan, who only hours after coming forward mysteriously ‘jogged’ off the cliff of Cavehill to his death,” said Mr McIlwaine.
Despite being seen in the company of key suspects before and after the double murder, the senior loyalist has never been questioned by investigating detectives.
It is known that the UVF man received a phone call from a serving PSNI officer the morning that the two teenagers’ mutilated bodies were discovered dumped in a Co Armagh lane.
The PSNI man has since retired from the force, and the line of inquiry has never been followed up.
The McIlwaine family have been critical of the PSNI in the past after it emerged the force may have been tipped off in advance of the murders by the Special Branch informer.
Legal representatives for PSNI chief constable Hugh Orde have already indicated that his force may seek a public-interest immunity certificate to prevent important information going into the public domain.
There have been consistent reports that not only did the UVF double agent inform the PSNI that an attack was imminent but he may have taken part in double murder.
Mr McIlwaine said the PSNI’s role required close scrutiny.
“The failure of the PSNI to act on information by their agent must also be fully examined. That failure led to the murder of my son, and culpability also rests with those running agents,” he said.

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