Collusion claims in book

More than 120 people were murdered by a loyalist paramlitary gang based in the Lurgan area, a new book has claimed.

The book also probes widely held beliefs that many of those in the murder gangs worked in collusion with RUC officers and UDR soldiers.

Lethal Allies tells the story of the Glennane gang and other loyalist groups who, with Donaghcloney loyalist Robin Jackson at the helm, killed more than 120 people on both sides of the border between 1972 and 1976.

Most of the victims were Catholics. Many of these killings directly or indirectly involved members of the RUC and the UDR, it is claimed in the book written by Anne Cadwallader.

The work is based largely on declassified papers and official reports and on investigations carried out by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET).

The gang’s victims included the 1976 killings of six members of the Reavey and O’Dowd families.

Central to Cadwallader’s book are the relentless accounts of the murders that took place in, or emanated from, what was called the ‘murder triangle’ of mid-Ulster, but also the high level of RUC and UDR collusion with the mainly UVF killers.

Cadwallader names more than 20 RUC or UDR members from the time, former or serving, who were implicated in many of the murders. Probably the most notorious are Jackson, a sectarian UVF killer both as a serving and former UDR member, and James Mitchell, a godfather figure and RUC reserve member.

Both led astonishingly charmed lives, as is outlined in the book.

Despite what many would construe as good evidence against them, neither was convicted.

Mitchell died five years ago aged 88, Jackson from cancer in 1988 aged 49.