New report demands inquiry and apology 20 years after Ormeau bookies’ massacre

Collusion report calls for inquiry

By Scott Jamison

A report by a victims’ support group detailing collusion in the Sean Graham’s massacre will call for an independent inquiry into the UFF slaughter which saw five people murdered and seven others wounded 20 years ago this week.

The 70-page Relatives for Justice (RFJ) report, will be presented to families of those killed tomorrow (Thursday) and calls on British Prime Minister David Cameron to commission an independent inquiry into the slaughter in the Lower Ormeau bookies on February 5, 1992.

The report details security force collusion in the murders of the five Catholic victims – Jack Duffin (66); Willie McManus (54); Christy Doherty (52); Peter Magee (18) and James Kennedy (15) – who were gunned down by the loyalist murder gang in broad daylight.

Collusion has long been claimed in the indiscriminate killings of the victims. In September 2010 an investigation by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) revealed UDA informer William Stobie had handed the Browning pistol used in the attack over to RUC officers, only for them to return it to the loyalist group. The Browning pistol and an AK-47 used in the Sean Graham’s attack were both part of a consignment imported from South Africa in 1987 by UDA double agent Brian Nelson that was not stopped by his British army handlers.

Mark Sykes from RFJ, who was shot in the attack which claimed the life of his 18-year-old brother-in-law, Peter Magee said the new report not only highlighted the extent of collusion but also seeks justice for the dead.

“It is asking David Cameron to make a full apology to those bereaved and injured. We also want information from him around the weapons coming into the country because British military intelligence knew about them through Brian Nelson.

“The British have a responsibility to tell the families the truth. The HET report stated there was no new forensic or prosecutorial evidence that would convict anybody but we don’t believe that to be the case. We have studied every aspect of this and there is a multitude of failures on behalf of the RUC, PSNI and HET. Somebody needs to be held to account.”

Mark said the collusion aspect was evident “immediately” following the attack, with eyewitnesses claiming a UDR jeep stationed opposite the bookmakers moved only minutes before the murders took place, allowing the killers to drive in.

“Within a week people were asking for the ballistics report and the RUC refused to release it. But the Cory Report in 2004 into Pat Finucane’s death mentions the guns used in both attacks. The information was deleted as it was seen as ‘a risk to national security’ but we wondered what there was to hide. We found out about the Stobie information after that.”

Despite Dundonald man Mark Rice being found guilty of possession of the assault rifle used in the attack in 1993, he was eventually cleared of the five murders.

It was widely believed leading Annadale loyalists Joe Bratty and Raymond Elder, who were shot dead by the IRA on the Ormeau Road in 1994, were behind the attack.

Mark said the 20th anniversary of the Sean Grahams attack would bring fresh impetus to the campaign for the truth to be revealed.

“We want the Public Prosecution Service to bring a fresh investigation using all the information and evidence available, including that contained in the RFJ report.

“There are children and grandchildren who weren’t even born at the time taking up the baton to get to the truth. Another generation of family members will always be there to fight for this, no matter how long it takes.”

A new memorial to the victims of Sean Graham’s will be unveiled in place of the current plaque at 2.25pm on Sunday (February 5), 20 years to the day since the attack. It will be preceded by an anniversary Mass at 11.30am the same day in St Malachy’s Church.

The massacre is also detailed in a new graphic novel that is now available to see at the RFJ offices on the Fall Road. It contains drawings of Troubles killings that had elements of collusion including Sean Graham’s, Pat Finucane and the McGurk’s Bar bombing.

 

 

 

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