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Compensation fight will go on, vows ex-UDR man Colin Worton cleared of killing Catholic

By Deborah McAleese

Published 16/03/2016

Colin Worton
Colin Worton
Justice Minister David Ford

A former UDR member acquitted of the sectarian murder of a Catholic man 33 years ago has said that he will not rest until he is compensated for the "destruction" of his reputation.

Colin Worton (55) spent 30 months on remand following his arrest in connection with the murder of Armagh man Adrian Carroll in 1983.

He was cleared before his trial in 1986 after a judge said he was excluding his evidence because it had been coerced from him by RUC detectives.

Since his acquittal 30 years ago he has been demanding a public apology and compensation from the Government.

However, in the Assembly this week Justice Minister David Ford said that while he sympathised with Mr Worton's plight, he had now run out of road legally.

"He is in no different position from any another person that was charged and found not guilty," Mr Ford added. "He has, as far as I can see, exhausted all legal remedies."

But Mr Worton said that he did not accept Mr Ford's comments and insisted that he would keep fighting "to restore my good name and reputation that were destroyed".

"I am still stuck in 1983," he said. "I will not give up until I have a public apology and am compensated for 30 months in jail for something I did not do. I have been fighting this 33 years and will keep fighting it."

In 2011 Mr Ford underlined Mr Worton's innocence during a debate in Stormont, but the south Armagh man, whose brother was killed in the Kingsmills massacre in 1976, said it was not enough.

"It was just words," he said. "I want actions to back up those words. This isn't just about me, it is also about my family. My parents lost one son to terrorism and then another son was branded a terrorist.

"My father died in 2001 without seeing my reputation properly restored.

"You couldn't put a figure on what I have been through. This remains with me 24/7. I am surprised by what the Justice Minister said, but as far as I am concerned, I'm not giving up."

Mr Worton, who now works as a window cleaner, also said he was angry that three members of the so-called UDR Four - Noel Bell, Winston Allen and Jim Hagan, who were convicted of the November 1983 killing in Armagh before being cleared on appeal - received £500,000 in compensation while he had not been given a penny.

He was told that because he had not been found guilty, he could not be deemed to have been wrongly convicted.

Mr Carroll was shot dead on his way home from work, with a number of UDR men arrested and charged in connection with the killing. One of them, Neil Latimer, was convicted of being the gunman. His subsequent appeals were rejected.

Mr Worton initially claimed he helped Latimer, but he walked free after a judge said he was excluding his evidence because it had been coerced from him by the RUC.

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