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Prominent loyalist 'Winkie' Rea arrested as police probe two Troubles-era murders

By Cate McCurry

Published 01/06/2016

Arrested: Winston Rea
Arrested: Winston Rea

A high-profile loyalist has been arrested by police probing two sectarian murders almost nine months after detectives reopened investigations into the killings.

The two Catholic men were shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in separate incidents.

Winston 'Winkie' Rea (65) was arrested in Belfast yesterday. Police say he is being questioned over other serious crimes in Belfast in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Last year, police were given access to interviews the former loyalist prisoner gave to controversial American university project, the Boston College tapes.

Rea accused police of a "fishing exercise" after he launched a legal challenge to prevent police from accessing the tapes, but last June the PSNI was granted access to the interviews.

In September, detectives from the force's Legacy Investigation Branch reopened inquiries into the murders, saying they had enough information to progress both cases.

John Benedict Devine (37) was shot dead in front of his 13-year-old son at his home on Fallswater Street in west Belfast on July 23, 1989.

John Joseph Gerard O'Hara (41) was shot at Dunluce Avenue in south Belfast on April 17, 1991.

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