03 January 2006

Former loyalist gunrunner stabbed to death outside Glasgow shops


· Ex-UVF and LVF member killed in parked car
· Police discount paramilitary link

Audrey Gillan
Monday January 2, 2006
The Guardian

A former loyalist gunrunner has been stabbed to death in Glasgow's east end in what police say was a "frenzied attack". Lindsay Robb, a one-time member of the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Loyalist Volunteer Force, was killed as he sat in his car waiting for a friend to return from the shops at 5.30pm on Saturday.

His body was found dumped half a mile away from the scene of the attack.

Police said they did not believe his murder was connected to his paramilitary activities. He had been jailed for 10 years in 1995 for his part in a gun-smuggling plot but then released in 1999, the first member of the LVF to be freed as part of the early prisoner release scheme under the terms of the Good Friday agreement.

Mr Robb, 38, from Lurgan, moved to Scotland after his release and married at Gretna Green.

One resident, who lived near the scene of the stabbing, said: "Lindsay Robb was known for flashing his cash and I heard the killer was looking to get his hands on the money. He was in his car when it happened up near the shops. He was stabbed more than once before another guy managed to get in the car and drive him away. He was left in the street when the ambulance found him."

Officers from Strathclyde police were hunting for the killer and yesterday studying closed circuit television footage. They issued an appeal for witnesses, saying that in particular they wanted to speak to the driver and passenger of a white Transit van that was parked outside the shops in Gartloch Road, Ruchazie, at the time of the attack.

At the time of his conviction, Mr Robb was a leading member of the Progressive Unionist party, which was involved in peace deal talks with the UK government at Stormont. The PUP had declared its full support for the Ulster ceasefire.

In court, the jury was told that Mr Robb led a double life, peace negotiator one minute, gunrunner the next. He recruited loyalist supporters and funding in pubs and Orange halls across Scotland. He was found guilty of conspiring to acquire guns and ammunition for the UVF. Two guns and some ammunition were taken from Liverpool to Belfast via Scotland.

In Mr Robb's Filofax police found a UVF pen, a UVF plaque and a statement in his handwriting which indicated his commitment to the UVF. It said: "Loyalist people of Scotland ... It has been a bloody road. We have won the battle but the war is yet to be won. With the help of our fellow comrades in Scotland we will win the war. With the help of the Scottish people we will gain an honourable settlement in our land. Many men and women of the UVF have laid down their lives and liberty in the name of Ulster. We the Ulster loyalist people owe our fellow loyalist people of Scotland a debt of gratitude."

Mr Robb claimed he was wrongly convicted, saying he had "never advocated violence". He applied to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission to get his case investigated. He maintained that prosecution witnesses were threatened and forced into giving evidence against him by officers of the Strathclyde and Central Scotland police force.

He served the first part of his sentence in Scotland but was transferred to Maghaberry jail, Northern Ireland, where he was held on the LVF wing. He then defected from the UVF to the LVF.

While in Scotland he lost a building job because Catholic workmates complained about his loyalist tattoos, and he was banned from Ibrox after a Glasgow court heard he was accused of roaring sectarian abuse at the former Celtic player Pierre van Hooijdonk and spitting at a rival fan.

Mr Robb, who had been a key prosecution witness against a member of the IRA accused of murder, claimed he had received death threats from the IRA. After giving evidence, he was given £2,000 to start a new life in Scotland.

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