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Loyalist Winston Rea charged over murders of Catholic men John Devine and John O'Hara

By Staff Reporter

Published 06/06/2016

Accused: Winston Rea
Accused: Winston Rea

Veteran loyalist Winston 'Winkie' Rea has been charged with the sectarian murders of two Catholic men in Belfast over 25 years ago.

The 65-year-old is due to appear at Laganside Magistrates Court today charged with a number of offences including two counts of murder.

The charges relate to the murders of John Benedict Devine (37) in Fallswater Street, west Belfast, on July 23, 1989, and John Joseph Gerard O'Hara (41) at Dunluce Avenue, south Belfast, on April 17, 1991.

Rea was arrested in Belfast on Tuesday.

Police re-opened investigations last year into the two sectarian murders in Belfast during the 1980s and 1990s.

Mr Devine was shot dead in front of his 13-year-old at his home.

Gunmen, who forced their way into his property, escaped in a blue Vauxhall Cavalier taxi.

John Joseph Gerard O'Hara was shot at Dunluce Avenue in south Belfast on April 17, 1991.

The 41-year-old was working as a temporary taxi driver and had gone to collect a passenger when he was targeted by two masked men. They fled on foot.

A PSNI spokesman said last week: "Detectives from Legacy Investigation Branch have arrested a 65-year-old man in relation to two murders and other serious crimes in Belfast in the late '80s and early '90s.

"The man was arrested in Belfast this afternoon and is currently helping police with their enquiries."

Detective Inspector Neil McGuinness said last September: "Both these men were innocent Catholics who were murdered for no other reason than their religion."

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