DETECTIVES have released a photograph of murdered loyalist David Murphy whose body was found with shotgun wounds at his Co Antrim farmhouse. On Wednesday night police confirmed they are investing whether an assault on the well-known 52-year-old loyalist at his home is linked to the fatal shooting. A neighbor found Mr Murphy’s body on Tuesday afternoon, although he may have been murdered the previous evening. He had been blasted twice in the face with a shot-gun in an attack detectives described as “brutal”. Sources say Mr Murphy was attacked by a three-man gang some time over the weekend at his home on Church Road in Glenwherry, on the out-skirts of Ballymena.
Police said they were aware of reports of an earlier assault on the murdered man and this was ” something they are looking at as part of the inquiry “. Mr Murphy, described in court as a ‘sheep farmer’, had loyalist paramilitary links. In 2004 he was charged with possession of a large haul of weapons belonging to the UVF, including a sub machine gun and four pistols.
With many thanks to: Allison Morris Security Correspondent and The Irish News for the original story.
It is understood thata neighbour discovered his body at the farmhouse on Church Road in Glenwherry, on the outskirtsof Ballymena, at about 1pm on Tuesday.
People in the area say Murphy had been involved in an altercation days before his death, when he was set upon by a gang of men.
In March last year he was released on bail charged in connection with a suspected extortion plot targeting a bank manager who was told to hand over £10,000. Murphy, described in court as a cattle and sheep farmer, was due to stand trial this year for blackmail and threats to kill.
In 2004 he was convicted of possessing a sub-machine gun, four pistols, ammunition and paramilitary-style clothing thought to belong to the UVF.
On Tuesday night crime-scene investigators continued to examine the farmhouse.
Police said: “Detectives from the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team have launched a murder investigation following the discovery of the body of a man at a house in the Church Road area of Glenwherry.
“Enquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding his death.”
Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan said the rural community are in shock.
“I would be calling on police to conduct a full investigation, not just into this man’s cause of death but also the circumstances leading up to the discovery of his body,” he said.
With many thanks to: The Irish News for the original story
Today sees the release of hundreds of previously secret government files in Belfast and Dublin. From confidential discussions about paramilitary killings and the 1994 ceasefires, to cross-border and transatlantic diplomatic rows, they shed light on key events during the Troubles and emerging peace process. Reports by political historian Dr Éamon Phoenix and the Press Association
THE UVF was involved in secret talks with the IRA which discussed the prospect of a federal Ireland, newly-released state papers have claimed.
According to a document marked “Secret” in 1988, the meetings were facilitated by Fr John Murphy, a chaplain in the Maze prison.
The memo, written to the Taoiseach’s office and among hundreds of government files released in Dublin and Belfast today, said the priest was anxious to keep the meetings confidential and listed the three main enemies of the talks as “the NIO (Northern Ireland Office), the RUC and the DUP”.
“Fr Murphy was frankly surprised at the speed with which events had moved and was particularly surprised at the signs of apparent flexibility being shown by the UVF in this exercise where they demonstrated a willingness to at least talk about a wide range of possible future arrangements for Ireland, not excluding concepts like a federal Ireland,” wrote Brendan Mahon of the Anglo Irish Division.
He said Fr Murphy’s understanding of the concept of a federal Ireland was “based on the four provinces including a nine-county Ulster with a separate province-type arrangement for Dublin similar to the District of Columbia in the US”.
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Federalism is a process by which a central and regional government share power, which indicates Dublin would have a say in a Stormont government.
The papers did not specify whether the UK would have a continued role.
“John Murphy has now informed me on a highly-confidential basis that these talks have now moved outside of the confines of the prison and that the army council of the IRA and the leadership of UVF have now agreed to separate talks with the chaplains outside of the prison,” Mr Mahon wrote.
With many thanks to: The Irish News for the original story
Robert Campbell and Aaron Cahoon appeared at Belfast Crown Court yesterday over the attack on Darren Moore
Five men will be sentenced next week for their roles in an “almighty beating” of former UVF man Darren Moore.
Belfast Crown Court heard yesterday that such was the ferocity of the attack that a baseball bat used to repeatedly bludgeon Moore as he lay on the ground broke in two.
Judge Desmond Marrinan remanded Aaron Norman Cahoon, David Rush, David John Gibson, Joshua Wylie and Robert Campbell into custody over the attack, which he described as a “very serious case”.
Cahoon (28), of Cherrymount in Newtownabbey, and Gibson (45), of Milewater Drive, New Mossley, pleaded guilty to a single charge of aiding and abetting grievous bodily harm. The court heard Cahoon had provided his Honda Civic car for the assault, while Gibson held a pub door open as it took place.
Rush (36), of Ballyvessey Green, Newtownabbey; Wylie (20), of Galgorm Road, Ballymena, and Campbell (33), of Clareville Avenue, Ballyclare, all pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to Moore, a former Irish League footballer, on March 15, 2017.
Prosecution barrister Robin Steer told the court: “This was a planned attack by an armed group involving 10 males on Darren Moore at McConnell’s bar in Doagh around 6pm.
“The attack was co-ordinated, with members of the group arriving in the area at the same time, some by vehicle.
“Three members of the group – Joshua Wylie, David Rush and Robert Campbell – carried out an initial reconnaissance to confirm if the injured party was in the bar before the whole group arrived en masse.
“A number of weapons were produced: a claw hammer, a baseball bat and a bar.
“After the incident, the group rapidly dispersed and some of the group switched vehicles shortly afterwards in an attempt to evade detection.”
A group of 10 people were captured on CCTV walking into the bar as Moore sat at a table drinking with two others.
The prosecutor said around seven men then entered the bar and “took an active part in the assault”, with three men remaining in the foyer. Moore (48), who played for Crusaders FC, was first hit on the head with a hammer by a man in a blue hooded jacket, felling him.
“A second male in a dark hooded jacket, also not before the court, strikes Mr Moore with what appears to be a bar Stoll while he is lying prone on the ground.”
Mr Steer said Wylie got involved and was a “central player in the assault, who can be seen delivering approximately a dozen strikes with a baseball bat”.
CCTV showed Campbell picking up a glass and throwing it at Moore before striking him on the back of the head with a bar stool.
The court was told Rush was seen on the footage “marshalling people back and then forward again”, a claim disputed by his defence counsel.
After initially leaving the bar, the group returned to attack Moore, said Mr Steer, and Wylie could be seen on CCTV with the broken baseball bat in his right hand and “stabs down at Mr Moore with this weapon as a blonde-haired lady tries to keep him at bay with the bar stool”.
The court heard Campbell struck Moore on the ankle with a bar stool as Rush was seen trying to get at Moore, but was held back by another person.
“Mr Rush then leaves holding a broken baseball bat handle in his hand. Finally, Robert Campbell strikes Mr Moore with the bar stool again. At the end of the incident all run out of the bar.”
The prosecutor said Moore was taken to Antrim Area Hospital. A CT scan showed a “depressed skull fracture, multiple rib fractures and several fractures to the thoracic spinal process”.
Wylie later told police he was “acting under duress”. Defence counsel Paddy Lyttle QC told the court Wylie had a “£5,000 drug debt” and carried out the attack fearing if he didn’t he would get a serious beating.
Mr Steer said: “This was a group attack by a total of 10 persons who were either involved with loyalist paramilitaries in the Newtownabbey area or were acting under their direction or control. The motivation was a revenge attack on a person who was involved in loyalist paramilitary activity and had fallen out with the group.”
Cahoon’s defence counsel Eilis McDermott QC said he realised after handing over his car that it was going to be used to “give someone a hiding” and had expressed his “regret and remorse”.
Gavan Duffy QC, for former soldier Rush, denied any loyalist paramilitary involvement.
The court heard Rush, who has PTSD after tours in Northern Ireland, Kuwait and Iraq, had a previous conviction for kidnapping and assault occasioning actual bodily harm and at the time of the attack on Moore was on licence from prison.
Gibson’s defence QC Brian McCartney said the defendant had “shown victim empathy” in a pre-sentence report.
Mr McCartney told the judge: “He was going to the shop and he was persuaded to go along. He was a door holder.”
Ciaran Mallon QC said there was “no question” of Campbell being involved in any paramilitary organisation. He accepted the defendant “struck (Mr Moore) on the foot or ankle” during the attack.
Judge Marrinan described the assault on Moore as an “almighty beating… a punishment if that is what you want to call it”.
As Rush, Gibson and Wylie were already on prison remand, Judge Marrinan revoked the bail of Cahoon and Campbell, telling them he would sentence them on Monday.
With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and John Cassidy for the original story.
This week saw the launch of a remarkable book. And some of the stories contained in it will go a long way towards increasing our understanding of what became known as, “the Troubles’.
‘Reporting the Troubles’ was the brainchild of Deric Anderson Jnr (og), a young man whose veteran news reporter dad Deric Snr walked every step of the way through 50 years of this defining period in our history.
Deric Jnr (og), suggested the time was now right for his father to lean on his many friends and colleagues in the world of journalism with a view to getting their Troubles-related stories on paper.
The result is ‘Reporting the Troubles’ – Journalists tell their stories of the North of Ireland conflict’ (pictured above) and I was privileged to be asked to contribute to it. Like his close friends Ivan McMichael and Raymond Managh, Deric Henderson cut his teeth as a young reporter on the Tyrone Constitution in his native Omagh. Deric, Raymond and Ivan changed journalism in the city. Their general high standards, commitment to detail and willingness to go the extra mile to produce good stories was obvious from the beginning.
And therefore when the calamity of the Troubles eventually exploded on the streets, the Tyrone trio were capable of reporting these dreadful events honestly and accurately.
It is widely known, but Raymond Managh is the man who in 1966 broke the shocking story of the Malvern Street shottings, which resulted in the death of a young Catholic barman called Peter Ward.
Malvern Street signalled the arrival of the mordern-day UVF on the streets.
The story was flashed around the globe on the BBC World Service. And in Reporting the Troubles, Raymond recalls how that happened. After leaving the busy Belfast Telegraph newsroom, Ivan McMichael- whizz-kid shorthand writer went on to become the doyen of court reporters, covering all major cases.
In this book, Ivan recounts the trial of a ruthless gang of loyalist paramilitaries convicted for murdering members of the hugely popular Miami Show band.
Deric Henderson headed-up the Belfast Desk of the Press Association for many years. He was the coalface throughout the Troubles and he has a mountain of good stories to tell. But in this book he has chosen to reveal a moving story relating to members of his own family. And he also recounts the day he managed to manipulate the daily news coverage at the end of the trial of the infamous Shankill Buthers.
Wendy Austin revisits the PIRA firebomb atrocity at the La Mon House Hotel. And Fermanagh reporter Denzil McDaniel delivers a moving account of the IRA Poppy Day bombing of Enniskillen, while Ivan Little – a co-editor of this book along with Deric – recounts the Sean Graham’s bookies shop shootings on Belfast’s Ormeau Road.
Some of the best Troubles coverage was done by reporters who had previous understanding of the problems which led to the outbreak of civic strife in the North of Ireland. And yet a number of them quickly grasped the nettle and were able to deliver incisive reports for Republic of Ireland, the UK as well as worldwide audiences.
In this regard, Kate Adie, Alex Thompson and Miriam O’Callahan all made notable contributions. And in this book also, Belfast Telegraph political editor Suzanne Green reaffirms her reputation as a superb recorder of the history of the Troubles. My old Sunday World colleagues Jim McDowell and Sam Smyth are also represented.
Sam provides a light-hearted break from the bleakness by recalling the amazing secret life of UDA leader Sammy Duddy, who at the height of the Troubles doubled as a cabaret drag artiste.
For my part, I documented the previously untold story of Short Strand woman Marie O’Hara. A mum of five daughters, Marie lost two husbands – both entirely innocent men – to UVF violence. It is a remarkable account of how resilient the human spirit can be when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds and I was honoured to write it in Reporting the Troubles.
With many thanks to: Hugh Jordan and The Sunday World for the original story.
CONTROVERSIAL legislation proposed by the British government will make it ‘illegal’ to publish images linked to the republican movement and loyalism and would be punishable with six months in prison.
The proposied clampdown is contained in new the counter-terrorism and border security bill which is making its way through Westminster.
The Irish News revealed on Friday how planned legislation will result in the establishment of a mile-wide ‘stop-and-search border zone’. Now it has emerged that the bill also proposes to outlaw clothing and images associated with paramilitary activity. While other legislation, including the Terrorism Act, covers some of this ground, the proposed legislation will go further. There are 14 republican and loyalists organisations proscribed by the British government. Several of the groups, including the main republican and loyalist organisations, are on long-term ceasefire.
The planned legislation says that: “A PERSON commits an offence if the person publishes an image of – (a) an item of clothing, or (b) any other article, in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion that the person is a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation”. The proposed legislation says “an image is a reference to a still or moving image [produced by any means]”.
This means that anyone who published an image relating deemed to be in support of a paramilitary organisation would be breaking the law. How far this will be enforced is unclear but it is thought it could be applied to flags and other images associated with both republican and loyalists groups.
Human rights groups have voiced concern about the proposed legislation. Deputy director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), Daniel Holder said: “The reality is, as it stands, if these laws were in fact applied to the North of Ireland, there would be huge community alienation, street violence would probably erupt and the cause of peace would be put back immeasurably. “So if these counter-terrorism measures are not only useless but counter-productive for the North of Ireland, how are they appropriate for the rest of the UK?”
The CAJ and nationalist politicians have also voiced concern about the prospect of a ‘stop-and-search border zone’. If the bill becomes law any member of the public could be stopped within a mile of the border to establish if they are engaged in “hostile activity”. SDLP MLA Carmel Hanna last night said the proposals would be a “grotesque assault on border life and on the [Good Friday] agreement of which the UK government is a co-guarantor”. “The UK government appear to neither care nor understand the anxiety they are causing here,” she said.
“At this point in the Brexit negotiations there is very little we could put past this government who seem prepared to sign up to almost anything in the name of Brexit and oblivious to the tension these proposals create.”
Sinn Féin deputy president Michelle O’Neill accused the British government of “duplicity”. “The use of stop and search powers is already a cause of massive concern in nationalist areas and if powers as wide-ranging as these were introduced, it would be disastrous,” she said. “It runs counter to human rights provisions. It runs counter Good Friday Agreement and the principles of the European Common Travel Area. “I will be taking this up directly with both governments because it is clear that, through this legislation, London is preparing for the imposition of a hard border in Ireland.”
With many thanks to: Connla Young and The Irish News for the original story.
Irish News Editorial
Legislation must be scrutinised
WHILE considerable attention has been focused on the Brexit withdrawal bill, another piece of legislation which could have far-reaching repercussions for the border has been making its way through Westminster largely unnoticed. The counter-terrorism and border security bill contains proposals that, if passed, could have alarming implications for people in the border area of the North of Ireland. Under the terms of the planned legislation, any member of the public could be stopped within a mile of the border to establish if they are entering or leaving the nort. An ‘examining officer’ may question the person to determine if they are engaged in ‘hostile activity’.
It is not clear if this means police or border force officers will be protrolling the border area, able to stop and question any person they wish without due cause. Obviously this would be viewed with deep concern, particularly at a time when efforts are under way to ensure there is no hard border on this Island following the UK’s departure from the EU in March next year. It is also worrying that this legislation, which contains other broadly-constructed measures that will raise serious concern, has already passed the Committee stage and could come into law before Christmas. These proposals must be subject to careful scrutiny and assessment with political representatives making sure we do not end up with a hard border as a result of Brexit or any other form of legislation.