Widow to sue chief constable and the MOD

Margaret Campbell, whose husband was shot dead by loyalists in 1973, with her daughter Donna Patrick-Campbell, son-in-law Patrick Barry, son Patrick Campbell (right) and solicitor Kevin Winters (left) in Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday December 16, 2014.  Margaret is to sue the chief constable of the PSNI and Ministry of Defence. The family claim the police and army colluded to protect the UVF killer. See PA story ULSTER Campbell. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Margaret Campbell, whose husband was shot dead by loyalists in 1973, with her daughter Donna Patrick-Campbell, son-in-law Patrick Barry, son Patrick Campbell (right) and solicitor Kevin Winters (left) in Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday December 16, 2014. Margaret is to sue the chief constable of the PSNI and Ministry of Defence. The family claim the police and army colluded to protect the UVF killer. See PA story ULSTER Campbell. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The widow of a factory worker murdered by loyalist paramilitaries more than 40 years ago is to sue the Chief Constable and Ministry of Defence.

Margaret Campbell alleges the police and army colluded to protect the UVF gunman who shot her husband Patrick Campbell at their home on Cline Walk in Banbridge in 1973.

No-one has ever been convicted of the killing, but it has been linked to Donaghcloney man Robin Jackson and the Glenanne gang - a Mid-Ulster loyalist murder squad linked directly and indirectly, the family’s legal representatives claim, with the security forces.

“We hope this will bring some sort of closure,” said Mrs Campbell. “We’ve nothing to lose.

“If my husband’s death had been investigated at the time there might have been other lives saved.”

Father-of-three Patrick Campbell was gunned down on October 29, 1973, his wife and then 10-year-old daughter, Donna, narrowly escaping injury after a burst of gunfire was aimed down the hallway.

“It was horrendous,” said his widow. “It never leaves you and never will.”

It is claimed the alleged gunman, Robin Jackson, was a Royal Ulster Constabulary Special Branch agent.

Jackson, a former Ulster Defence Regiment soldier later dubbed The Jackal, was thought to have been behind some of the worst atrocities of the Troubles, including the 1974 Monaghan bombing and the Miami showband massacre in July, 1975.

He was a member of the Glenanne gang - a UVF terror unit linked to around 120 murders in Counties Armagh and Tyrone over a five-year period in the 1970s and it is believed Patrick Campbell was his first victim.

Jackson worked alongside Mr Campbell at Banbridge’s Down Shoes factory and it’s understood the pair had a political disagreement over the stopping of machinery following the deaths of three British soldiers.

A week after the shooting police found 79 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition at Jackson’s home and he was singled out three times by Mrs Campbell, during a police identity parade at Castlereagh RUC station, as the man responsible for producing a handgun when the killers came to her home.

RUC officers also found a notebook with names, addresses and vehicle registration details which it is alleged came from UDR intelligence sources.

However, it was decided there was insufficient evidence to secure a conviction.

Jackson died in 1998, aged 50.

An investigation by the Historical Enquiries Team found that Robin Jackson’s “later notoriety, with the benefit of hindsight, raises suspicions about his involvement and gives rise to the concerns expressed by the family”.

Mrs Campbell said: “We feel the RUC failed our family and the families of all those that Jackson went on to kill.”

The Campbell family is also being supported by the Pat Finucane Centre in taking the civil action.