Belfast Telegraph

Loyalist victim family want inquest

The family of a man shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland while undercover troops were at the scene are to push for an inquest into the killing.

A new police report on the attack, where three republicans were ambushed after leaving a police station in Lurgan, Co Armagh, in 1990, revealed that eight undercover soldiers were monitoring the men around the time of the killing.

Former republican prisoner Sam Marshall was shot dead but the presence nearby of a red Maestro car, later identified as a military intelligence vehicle, sparked swift claims of a security force role in the killing.

It has now emerged the car was one of six vehicles in a major surveillance operation on the republicans, involving eight armed undercover soldiers, and though the loyalist killers launched the attack and escaped, investigators said there was no evidence of state collusion with the gunmen.

There has never been an inquest into the shooting but the Marshall family's solicitor Padraigin Drinan said she would now be pressing for one to be held, 22 years after the event.

"The family have wanted an inquest all along and on several occasions they have been told there is no need for an inquest because there has been a police investigation into the death," she said.

The attack was claimed by the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force but the gunmen have never been identified. A police investigation into a robbery in Belfast led to the arrest of two loyalists later convicted for supplying the killers' car.

A fresh decision on whether an inquest should now be held was delayed until the police Historical Enquiries Team (HET) reviewed the case.

The men targeted in the attack were high-profile republicans including Colin Duffy, who was acquitted in January of murdering two soldiers at Massereene army base in Antrim.

But deputy leader of the nationalist SDLP Dolores Kelly said she believed the controversy over the 1990 case subsequently led young people to join republican paramilitary ranks. She said: "I am convinced that this murder led other people to take up the gun during the last ugly years of the Troubles. The HET owe Sam Marshall's family and the wider public the truth."

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