21 January 2006

Historical cases let friends reminisce over good old days

Daily Ireland



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I’m all for the Trevors investigating cold cases. The Historical Enquiries Team has started looking into murders that took place during the Troubles and that remained unsolved.

The team hasn’t wasted any time getting down to work. In fact, it has already completed its first interview of a suspect, which went very well, as this transcript shows.

Serious Crime Suite, Antrim Barracks, Friday, January 20. Interviewing officer: Detective Superinspector Trevor Simpson-Gibson. Suspect: Sammy “Knuckles” McClurg, alleged UDA brigadier and Shankill Road community worker.

Gibson: Interview begins 4.22pm. Just for the record, could you state your full name and address, please.

McClurg: Feck sake, Gibber. Are you joking or what? You weren’t asking me my name when we were in Fuengirola in July, and you knew my address when you called up for a game of poker on Saturday night.

Gibson: Ahem, yes, well… maybe we’d better skip that bit. I have here a picture of a Catholic man murdered in his bed by the UDA in July 1993. Have you seen this man before?

McClurg: Yes, you’ve got me bang to rights on that one.

Gibson: When and where did you see him?

McClurg: First time was when you gave me that picture a week before we whacked him. First time in the flesh was when you pointed him out to me when you drove me past his house.

Gibson: Look, Sammy… I mean, Mr McClurg, let’s just remember that this is all being taped. Fair enough? Now, where were you on the night of July 18, 1993?

McClurg: In the PSNI social club with you. Night at the Races, remember? You got pissed and got up on the table and sang The Billy Boys.

Gibson: What about later on, around 1.30am?

McClurg: Hmm, let’s see. Oh yes, we went and nicked a Vauxhall and decided to top yer man there in the picture. You weren’t with us, though. I can remember that clearly.

Gibson: Great, you’ll swear to that in court, won’t you?

McClurg: Certainly will. I wouldn’t tell lies about you Gibber. You were in the scout car in front of us.

Gibson: Let me ask you now about the shooting itself. We’ve been reviewing fingerprints found on a Smith and Wesson .38 that we recovered during a raid on a house in the Shankill three days after the murder. What would you say if I told you that we have now identified those fingerprints as yours?

McClurg: I’d say that’s very likely seeing as how you gave it to me in the bogs in the social club that night. You might find yours on it too.

Gibson: We’ve been speaking to a witness who will say that he saw you burning the getaway car and running off with a gun in your hand and wearing a balaclava.

McClurg: That nosey wee bastard in No 32, wasn’t it?

Gibson: Yes, but don’t you be going round there and annoying him now.

McClurg: You know me, Gibber.

Gibson: Yes, now, let me see… I want you now to look at this picture. It’s a still from a video of two masked men sitting at a desk with a Union jack tablecloth and two handguns. The men are reading out a statement claiming responsibility for the murder and warning of more attacks. That’s you on the right, isn’t it, Mr McClurg?

McClurg: Of course it is, Gibber, and that’s you on the left. Look at your big ears sticking out, ye blurt ye, and you didn’t even bother to take off your glasses.

Gibson: I’m looking at an intelligence file on you and, according to this, you killed your first Catholic for the UDA in September 1977.

McClurg: I deny that. I reject that completely.

Gibson: You do, eh?

McClurg: Bloody right I do. That was a UDR job. I didn’t join the UDA for another 18 months.

Gibson: How can you be so sure?

McClurg: Because you swore me in, Gibber, and then we went to your brother’s caravan in Portrush and got millered for the weekend. Happy days or what?

Gibson: I want to ask you now about how your standard of living fits in with the fact that you’re a voluntary community worker and you sign on the dole. Do you deny that you have a condo in South Beach, Miami?

McClurg: Now wouldn’t that be stupid, Gibber, when I lent it to you and Pamela for a fortnight last month?

Gibson: I have before me a portfolio of properties that you own in south Belfast, north Down, Donegal and Dublin.

McClurg: I know you have. I faxed it to you when you asked me the other night if I’d anywhere nice you could go for Easter.

Gibson: What about the Lamborghini, the Rolls-Royce, the his and hers Mitsubishi Shoguns, the Honda Fireblade and the Jet Skis?

McClurg: You do look good in the Roller, Gibber. I can’t deny it. If you’re asking me where I got them, it was by selling Long Kesh hankies. You know it, Gibber. You’ve got one framed above your fireplace. Beside the Michael Stone picture.

Gibson: I have here in front of me a sworn statement from a well-known builder who claims that you met him in a hut on a building site on the Shankill and demanded money from him with menaces. Do you want me to read out what you said you’d do if he didn’t give you a grand a week?

McClurg: That I’d send you round to sort him out?

Gibson: No, you said that you’d break his legs and shoot his workers.

McClurg: See, that’s where you’re wrong, Gibber. I said I’d shoot his legs and burn his workers. What is this, amateur hour?

Gibson: Mr McClurg, I must warn you that, with the information that we have gathered up to now and on the basis of what I’ve heard here today, I will be recommending that you be brought in again and questioned further about these matters.

McClurg: Bring your boss in the next time. I want to talk to him about an investment opportunity in Cyprus.

Gibson: Interview terminated 5.11pm.

McClurg: Thank feck for that. Fancy a quick one in the Black and Decker Arms, Gibber?

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