Glennane gang: Jon Boutcher to head collusion investigation
Former Bedfordshire Police chief Jon Boutcher will head an inquiry into the activities of the Glenanne Gang.
In July, the Court of Appeal said a full, independent investigation must be held.
The loyalist paramilitary gang has been linked to up to 120 murders and included some serving members of the police and security services.
Mr Boucher is separately investigating the activities of an Army agent within the IRA, known as Stakeknife.
Glenanne gang victims win legal challenge
PSNI ‘must complete Glenanne Gang probe’
‘Establish the truth’
Mr Boutcher said the review would have the “interests of the victims, and their loved ones at its very heart”.
He said: “I will do everything I can to establish the truth about who was responsible for these terrible crimes.
“For the families that especially means finding out about what, if any, assistance was given to the Glenanne Gang by others in any manner whatsoever, and that will include whether people turned a blind eye to what was happening.”
An investigation into alleged security force collaboration with the gang was started by the now defunct Historical Enquiries Team (HET).
However, the HET was later abolished and the report, thought to be 80% complete, was shelved.
Families argued they were promised an investigation.
Initial legal proceedings against the PSNI were taken by Edward Barnard, whose 13-year-old brother Patrick was killed in the Hillcrest Bar bombing.
The boy was one of four people to die in the no-warning explosion on St Patrick’s Day, 1976.
Five years later, Dungannon Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) member Garnet James Busby received a life sentence after admitting his role in the bombing and other terrorist offences.
July’s Court of Appeal ruling upheld a previous court’s decision that had been challenged by the former PSNI Chief Constable, Sir George Hamilton.
Assistant Chief Constable George Clarke said the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s thoughts “first and foremost are with all of the families affected by these incidents”.
He added: “Following the Court of Appeal judgment on 5 July the chief constable undertook to commence work to appoint the Independent Police Team and he has now asked for the assistance of Jon Boutcher to head this team to conduct the analytical report on collusion as ordered by the court.”
The Glenanne Gang is believed to have been responsible for the murders of 33 people in the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
It has also been linked to a number of other atrocities, including the 1975 Miami Showband Massacre in which three members of the popular group were shot dead.
With many thanks to: BBC NewsNI for the original story