A BRITISH soldier known to have been involved in eight ‘shoot-to-kill operations played a part in at least one other deadly ambush, an inquest heard on Wednsday December 17.
Details emerged during a preliminary inquest hearing in Belfast into the murders of three PIRA men in Co Tyrone in June 1991. Lawrence McNally (38), Peter Ryan (37) and Tony Doris (21) were murdered after the car they were travelling in was ambushed by the SAS. The vehicle was reported to have been hit by up to 200 rounds of gunfire, it was cold blooded murder. It is beleived the three man PIRA unit were making their way to carry out an attack. The Irish News revealed last month that a British army officer was involved in a string of shoot-to-kill operations resulting in the murders of 16 people between 1983 and 1991. During Wednsday’s hearing, it emerged that the officer – who had a command position in the the Co Armagh ambush – was also involved in the SAS operation that resulted in the murders of two other PIRA members Dessie Grew (37) and Martin McCaughey (23), pictured below, in October 1990 near Loughgall in Co Armagh. The information was not disclosed during a 2012 inquest into their murders. Following the verdict of lawful killing returned by the the inquest jury, Martin McCaughey’s sister launched a legal challenge to quash the ruling.
Central to it was a refusal by the Ministry of Defence to disclose information about the involvement of military witnesses in other ‘lethal force incidents’. The case is due to be heard next year. Solicitor Fearghal Shiels, of Madden and Finucane Solicitors, who also represents the McCaughey and Grew families as well as the daughter of Lawrence McNally, said disclosure is critical to the inquest process. “The issue of non-disclosure in this case is much more fundamental, however, as it concerns the failure to disclose details of the involvement in other lethal force shootings, and murders, by the British soldiers who opened fire on Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew,” he said. “What is more surprising, and what we say makes the coroner’s decision to defend these proceedings untenable, is that information concerning soldiers’ involvement in other lethal force incidents is now being routinely provided in other cases.” It also emerged that a soldier who fired shots in the Coagh ambush, referred to only by the initial B in legal papers, was involved in a separate SAS operation near Strabane in Co Tyrone in November 1990 during which INLA member Alex Patterson was shot dead. Barrister Karen Quinilvan said the same undercover soldier British was identified during the McCaughey and Grew inquest as soldier G and gave evidence that he did not fire his weapon. A solicitor for the MoD said the document presented to the coroner was in “draft” form. Coroner Jim Kitson also heard details of other undercover soldiers involved in the Coagh ambush. It emerged that two soldiers were also involved in the Loughgall ambush and massacare during which eight PIRA men, pictured right, and a civilian where gunned down and shot dead by the SAS in May 1987. One soldier was also involved in a British undercover ambush that resulted in the murders of four PIRA men at Clonoe, near Coalisland, in February 1992.
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News, for the origional story.