Belfast Telegraph

Man arrested over 1999 murder

Police investigating the murder of a one-time member of the IRA who became one of the organisation's most vocal critics have made an arrest.

Eamon Collins, 45, was battered and stabbed to death while out walking his dogs in January 1999 in Newry, Co Down.

Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) detained a man aged 42 at an address in Newry this morning.

A search was ongoing at a property in the city.

The suspect was taken to Antrim police station for questioning.

Mr Collins was attacked in the Dorans Hill area of Newry, a country road a short distance from his home.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Montgomery, from the police's serious crime branch, said: "I would ask those with information about Mr Collins' murder, particularly those in the Barcroft estate, to think again about the awfulness of what happened and about the Collins family.

"It is never too late to come forward."

Mr Collins, a former IRA member who developed what was described as his own brand of "naming and shaming" of alleged republican activists had been living in a staunchly republican area at the time of his death despite his criticism of the IRA.

While in the organisation, Mr Collins collected information on police officers and Royal Ulster Constabulary special branch members and set up assassinations over a six-year period.

He was arrested in 1985 and charged with 50 terrorist offences including five murders and membership of the IRA.

But he turned supergrass after his arrest, and said he was prepared to give evidence against former colleagues.

Many suspects were arrested but most were released, after Mr Collins changed his mind.

A judge dismissed his alleged confessions and he was freed.

He later wrote a book, Killing Rage, which was highly critical of the IRA.

In January of this year, police said they had DNA obtained from the murder scene.

A second man, aged 55, was later arrested in connection with the killing.

A PSNI spokesman confirmed the suspect had been taken to Antrim serious crime suite for questioning.

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