27 April 2006

Loyalist double killer buried in Derry

Belfast Telegraph

Exiled supergrass part of infamous gang

By Sarah Brett
27 April 2006

A notoriuos loyalist double killer, gangster and supergrass living under a secret identity in England for almost 20 years has been buried in his native Londonderry.

The Belfast Telegraph can reveal today that Leonard Campbell, who was also part of an infamous gang that tortured and robbed North West pensioners during a two-year reign of terror in the early eighties, has been laid to rest in the city after living in exile under an assumed name since his early release from prison in 1993.

Ten years earlier, the 36-year-old Campbell was given a 16 year sentence for 18 chargers linked to 10 separate robberies in which eight pensioners were assaulted.

Between them, Campbell and his eight cohorts were given 65 years behind bars for the brutal crimes.

While in prison in 1986 Campbell then confessed to his part in the horrific UDA murders of Catholics Kevin Mulhern and John Toland a decade before, and conspiring to murder Michael McHugh the same year, claiming "a troubled conscience" had forced him to come clean.

He was given two life sentences.

Kevin Oliver Mulhern was shot six times in the hallway of his Knockwellan Park home in the Waterside area of Derry on October 3 1976.

John Toland was shot four times as he served customers at the Happy Landings bar in Eglinton.

The 1987 court case arising from his shocking admissions heard that Campbell would have been the driver for Mr McHugh's execution on January 21 1976, but the killers did not call for him because the roads were too slippery.

Mr McHugh, a forestry worker in Castlederg, was later murdered by the UDA.

Campbell's lawyer told the court that his client was genuinely sorry for his role in the killings and pointed out that police would never have suspected his involvement had he not offered the information voluntarily.

In addition to the two life sentences, concurrent sentences for 15 other crimes totalling 90 years were handed down to the Waterside man that day in April 1987.

The charges included hijacking, armed robbery, burglary, intimidation, conspiracy to wound, conspiracy to rob and possession of a gun with intent to resist arrest.

Reports of Campbell being bundled into a plane at Belfast International Airport were the last sightings of him for almost two decades until he was brought home for burial on April 14 in the Waterside. He was 59.

Sources said that his funeral was a brief service attended by a handful of people.

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