03 January 2006

Hopes of victims’ relatives die with Lindsay Robb

Daily Ireland

By Connla Young

When Lindsay Robb died on the streets of Glasgow at the weekend, so did the hopes of dozens of nationalist families desperate to discover the full role of British security services in the murder of their loved ones.
A key member of Billy Wright’s notorious mid-Ulster Ulster Volunteer Force unit, Lindsay Robb is suspected of having knowledge of the murders of a number of nationalists in the North during the late 1980s and early ’90s.
The former UVF man is the fifth member of the Wright team to die in dubious circumstances within the last decade. Several of the team are suspected of working for British military intelligence and RUC Special Branch.
Prolific UVF killer Robin Jackson died in 1998 from cancer. Known to be a British agent, Jackson was involved in some of the North’s most shocking sectarian killings, including the Miami Showband massacre in 1975.
Billy Wright is also suspected of being a British agent during the time that his mid-Ulster UVF murder squad unleashed a wave of sectarian attacks in the early ’90s. Wright, who went on to found the Loyalist Volunteer Force, was killed in Long Kesh by the Irish National Liberation Army in 1998.
His sidekick and trusted trigger man Mark “Swinger” Fulton also died in mysterious circumstances in Long Kesh in 2002. In 1997, mid-Ulster loyalist RJ Kerr, a close ally of both Jackson and Wright, was killed instantly after an explosion occurred as he stood beside a boat being towed on a trailer outside Newry, Co Down.
As Scottish police probe Lindsay Robb’s weekend murder, the spotlight is again on his relationship with the RUC.
Lindsay Robb came to public attention in 1995 after being convicted of gunrunning for the UVF in Scotland. He later received a ten-year sentence for his part in the plot.
After being transferred from prison in Scotland to Long Kesh, he joined a wing controlled by Billy Wright’s newly formed LVF. In 1999, he became the first prisoner aligned to that organisation to be released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
A former member of the Progressive Unionist Party who took part in peace talks with the British government, Lindsay Robb is believed to have made a new life for himself in Scotland after his release from prison.
His conviction for gunrunning triggered the release from prison of Lurgan republican Colin Duffy, who had been found guilty of murdering former Lurgan Ulster Defence Regiment soldier John Lyness in 1993.
During his trial, the republican was identified by Lindsay Robb, who was known only as “witness C” and screened from public view, as being at the scene of the former UDR man’s murder. Colin Duffy was freed from prison after it became apparent that his conviction was unsafe.
At the time of the loyalist’s arrest for gunrunning, Scottish police discovered a legally held firearm given to Lindsay Robb by the RUC for personal protection. It was reported that the loyalist had also been given £2,000 (€2,900) by the RUC under the witness protection scheme.
In 1990, Colin Duffy was with Sam Marshall and another man when they were ambushed as they left Lurgan RUC station. All three were facing minor arms charges and were required to visit the police station as part of their bail conditions. Sam Marshall was killed in the attack. Days later, a sophisticated camera was discovered trained on Colin Duffy’s home.
In 1997, Colin Duffy was charged with the murder of two RUC men in Lurgan but the charges were later dropped. His solicitor Rosemary Nelson was herself murdered by loyalists in 1999.
Lindsay Robb is believed to have had in-depth knowledge of several UVF operations, including several multiple murders, carried out by the group in mid-Ulster in the early 1990s.

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