14 April 2006



04/14/06 00:03 EST

Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman (Watchdog) Nuala O'Loan is about to complete a report into allegations that a former north Belfast loyalist paramilitary UVF commander was involved in more than a dozen murders while he acted as an informer for the RUC police Special Branch.

Former senior RUC officer Johnston Brown has claimed that elements within RUC Special Branch protected this UVF figure to ensure he was not exposed as an informant, despite the fact that they knew he was associated with several killings of Protestants and Catholics.

The report is expected to further confirm long held suspicions among nationalists that the RUC often allowed loyalist killers a free reign in Northern Ireland.

It is perverse what happened, and goes against everything a police officer is sworn to do," Mr Brown said yesterday.

A confidential report has been obtained, compiled by the respected London-based human rights group British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW), which lists nine of the people whom the UVF man is alleged to have murdered either through direct involvement or indirectly by ordering or being linked to these killings.

Raymond McCord, whose son Raymond jnr was allegedly murdered on the orders of this UVF figure in 1997, has also said that security and loyalist paramilitary sources have corroborated to him the claims made by Mr Brown, who as a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer was responsible for putting loyalist paramilitary UDA leader Johnny Adair in prison for directing terrorism.

Mr McCord snr raised his concerns about the investigation into his son's death when he met Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin recently.

Sources say the Ombudsman's report, which will be completed in the summer, will be more controversial and far-reaching than her report into how the RUC handled the inquiry into the Real IRA bombing of Omagh. That exposed huge failings in the RUC inquiry and had major security and political implications.

Sinn Fein has refused to join the Police Board, citing the retention of Special Branch in the newly named PSNI as just one of the many reasons why the British government has not ensured a new beginning for policing in the North as envisaged under the Good Friday Agreement.

The following are victims of killings allegedly linked to the RUC informant:

Sharon McKenna

A 27-year-old single Catholic taxi driver from Newtownabbey, north of Belfast.

She was shot dead by two UVF men while visiting a Protestant friend, a pensioner recently released from hospital, in his Shore Road home in north Belfast on January 17th, 1993.

She was in his home cooking him dinner when she was killed. She was shot twice at close range from a 12-bore shotgun.

Gary Convie, Eamon Fox

Two Catholic workmen from Co Armagh who were shot dead by the UVF at a building site in the loyalist Tiger Bay area of Belfast on May 17th, 1994.

The UVF claimed the men were republicans but their family and police said they were murdered because they were Catholic.

Mr Fox (44)was married with six children.

Mr Convie (24) had a partner and child.

Thomas Sheppard

A Protestant shot dead by the UVF in a bar in the Ballee estate in Ballymena, Co Antrim, on March 21st, 1996.

The UVF claimed that the 41-year-old married man from Coleraine, Co Derry, was a police informer.

He had a criminal record and was known for his UVF links. His murder followed a number of UVF arrests in the area and compromised UVF operations.

Rev David Templeton

Died of a heart attack on March 24th, 1997, six weeks after he was beaten at his home in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, by UVF members with nail-studded clubs. Rev Templeton (43) had resigned as minister of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Greyabbey after it was reported he was stopped by customs officers when returning from Amsterdam in possession of a gay pornographic magazine.

Billy Harbinson

Found handcuffed and dumped in an alley in the Mount Vernon area of north Belfast on May 18th, 1997.

The 39-year-old Protestant from Hopewell Avenue was badly beaten and sustained severe head injuries. Initially police said there did not appear to be a sectarian or paramilitary link to his murder, but it later transpired that he was killed because he was suspected of informing.

Raymond McCord jnr

The 22-year-old Protestant former RAF airman was beaten to death at Ballyduff Quarry, Newtownabbey, by the UVF. His killing triggered the Police Ombudsman's investigation of the police handling of his murder inquiry, which now has a wider remit of whether members of RUC Special Branch colluded with X, the man who allegedly ordered the killing.

David Greer

Shot dead in north Belfast by the UVF on October 28th, 2000, during the UDA/UVF loyalist feud of that period. A 21-year-old UDA member from Robena Court, he was gunned down at Mountcollyer Street. At his funeral Protestant minister Rev Tom Greer pleaded for an end to the "wanton bloodletting". But four more died within a week.

Tommy English

Shot dead by the UVF on October 31st, 2000. The 39-year-old was a former senior UDA figure who was later a member of its political wing, the Ulster Democratic Party. He was killed in retaliation for the earlier UDA murder that week of Bertie Rice, a member of the UVF-linked Progressive Unionist Party.

Comments: Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?