RUC gave bookies massacre gun back to loyalists
A report into the 1992 murders of five Catholics in an Ormeau Road bookmakers has revealed one of the guns used by the UDA had been handed back to the gang by RUC officers.
The Historical Enquiries Team investigation found that a Browning pistol used in the February 5 massacre had been given back to the loyalist killer gang by the police.
Two loyalist gunmen attacked Sean Graham's bookmakers on Belfast's Ormeau Road in broad daylight, killing five men, including a 15-year-old teenager.
The victims were Jack Duffin (66), Willie McManus (54), Christie Doherty (52), Peter Magee (18) and James Kennedy (15).
The police decision was heavily criticised in the HET report.
The Historical Enquiry Team calls the practice a “risky enterprise'', adding: “Such operations would have required both the authority of a senior police officer and a recovery plan, generally short-term and, where possible, supported by the security forces within a short period of time.
“Clearly in this case, there was a significant failure and the repercussions were tragic and devastating.”
The UDA subsequently used the weapon in a number of murders, including the 1992 massacre.
“We're talking about five innocent men — a 15-year-old boy up to a 66-year-old man — who were in (Sean Graham's bookmakers) doing a bet as normal on a Wednesday afternoon and were gunned down and one of the weapons used was a Browning pistol that the RUC were involved in handing over to a loyalist death squad,” said Mark Sykes, who was injured in the attack.
Mr Sykes told the Belfast Telegraph that he believed there was collusion between the RUC and the UDA.
His 18-year-old brother, Peter Magee, was murdered by the weapon. “The families want the truth. The truth costs nothing. Cover-ups cost millions,” Mr Sykes added.
“If the money spent on preventing the truth from going out was used in actually telling the truth, we'd be in a healthier place.”
No-one has been convicted of the Ormeau Road killings though a number were convicted with other offences connected to the murderous attack.