Belfast Telegraph

Gun used to kill Roseann Mallon 'part of UDA agent's haul'

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

The gun used to shoot a pensioner more than 20 years ago was part of a consignment brought into Northern Ireland by a state-run agent, a coroner's court has heard.

Brian Nelson, a UDA man working for British intelligence, arranged for a large quantity of Czechoslovakian VZ-58 assault rifles to be dispatched to loyalist terrorists operating during the late 1980s and early 1990s, it has been claimed.

Barrister Barry Macdonald QC said: "This particular weapon was part of a consignment that had been arranged by Brian Nelson."

The claims were made during a long-running inquest touching on the death of 76-year-old Roseann Mallon.

Ms Mallon, a spinster who suffered from arthritis, was shot and killed while watching television at a relative's house on May 8, 1994.

The UVF gunmen indiscriminately opened fire on her sister-in-law's bungalow at Cullenrammer Road, Dungannon.

The UVF said its Mid-Ulster brigade had been responsible and were targeting two of her nephews, Christopher Mallon - who was not home at the time, and Martin Mallon - who lived half a mile away.

Both were involved with the republican movement.

After the shooting, Army spying equipment was found in a nearby field, sparking claims of security force collusion.

No one has ever been convicted of Ms Mallon's killing however, high-profile killer Billy Wright, who was murdered in 1997, and two other loyalists, were arrested and questioned.

Nelson, an agent provocateur who died in 2003, is understood to have been involved in planning at least two murders including solicitor Pat Finucane in 1989 and father-of-three Gerard Slane in 1988.

The inquest has resumed at Belfast's Laganside court complex after a delay of more than a year.

It had been halted in December 2013 after it was established that the weapon involved had been misidentified in original police ballistic tests.

Meanwhile, it also emerged that the man leading the RUC Special Branch which analysed firearms and ballistic material was a former crane driver with no formal academic qualifications.

David Bradley said he instead had four years experience in the forensic science firearms laboratory and by that stage (1993/4) almost 18 years' experience in microscopy.

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