Loyalist victims’ families to sue police

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  • Lawyers for families of loyalist murder gang compile dossier
  • Civil action to be taken against police
  • Dossier suggests many leads missed by police

The families of five Lurgan murder victims have united with the relatives of 20 other victims of a loyalist gang to launch a civil action against the police.

Lawyers for the families have compiled a dossier which establishes links between the murders at the hands of a UVF gang which operated across Mid Ulster in the 1980s and 1990s.

In the absence of a proper investigation it’s left to us to pursue civil litigation

Kevin Winters

The lawyers are to launch a civil action claiming police failed to properly investigate the killings.

The dossier suggests many leads were missed by police at the time that could have put the killers behind bars.

KRW Law is working on behalf of the families of Sam Marshall, murdered in Lurgan in 1990; Desmond Rogers (43) and Fergus Magee (28) who were murdered outside the Hyster factory in 1991 plus Brian Frizzell (29) and Eileen Duffy (19) who were murdered in a mobile shop in Drumbeg in 1991.

The law firm is investigating links between those deaths and those which included Katrina Rennie at the mobile shop in 1991 and John Lavery (27) at Hyster plus Denis Carville (19) in Lurgan in 1990, and brothers Rory (18) and Gerard Cairns (22) killed in Bleary in 1993 plus a host of other murders in the Mid Ulster area.

The lawyers have also linked a single gunman to many of the murders during the early to mid 1990s.

The alleged killer, who has since become a born-again Christian, is believed to have acted for years under the direction of Billy Wright who was leader of the LVF.

It is understood the suspect has spoken to the Historical Enquiries Team but has refused to make official statements unless he is granted immunity from prosecution.

Solicitor Rosie Kinnear from KRW Law said clear links emerged which showed a similar modus operandi in almost 30 murders.

Colleague Kevin Winters claimed this investigative work should have been done by detectives at the time, potentially saving lives. “Police should have done this years ago and didn’t.

“In the absence of a proper investigation it’s left to us to pursue civil litigation.

While the investigation carried out by the team at KRW Law revealed ballistics linking nine weapons to a spate of killings and attempted murders, the majority of the shootings involved just two guns.

Ms Kinnear said: “Two further inquests that of Kevin and Jack McKearney, provided us with updates to the original diagram.

“This is far from ideal - people should have been given answers long ago but in the absence of that, it has been left to us to fill the gaps.

“While we are working on behalf of the families, I always think it is the victims I am really working for and that helps to drive my work on.”