Belfast Telegraph

LVF chief's father dies aged 78

The father of murdered loyalist leader Billy Wright has died aged 78.

David Wright alleged that security forces and the prison service colluded in his son's murder.

Last year, an inquiry into the death of the Loyalist Volunteer Force chief - who was shot dead by a republican splinter organisation in the high-security Maze prison in 1997 - found there was no collusion.

Mr Wright branded the report a "total whitewash and a failure to get to the truth".

He will be buried at Killicomaine Baptist Church in his home town of Portadown, Co Armagh, on Sunday. A family friend said: "He was inspirational."

Mr Wright met police chief constables and secretaries of state during his battle for a public inquiry into his concerns about how the gunmen, fellow inmates, were able to kill his son.

His son was the most terrifying loyalist paramilitary since the Shankill Butchers in the 1970s.

The man nicknamed King Rat waged a bloody war against the Catholic population in the Portadown and Lurgan area between the mid 1980s and his death in 1997.

Wright became the UVF's "Mid-Ulster commander" and is thought to have ordered or participated in around 20 killings, most of which were blatantly sectarian. His name became synonymous with the Drumcree protests in Portadown.

The IRA and the INLA tried to kill Wright at least five times but he survived unscathed and enhanced his iconic reputation among Portadown loyalists. But on December 27 1997 he was led out to a van for a visit with his girlfriend but was shot dead by three INLA men.

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