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Tapes plea by loyalist is rejected

By Alan Erwin

Published 20/05/2015

Winston 'Winkie' Rea
Winston 'Winkie' Rea

Supreme Court judges in London have refused to hear an appeal by a former loyalist prisoner seeking to stop police accessing interviews he gave to an American university project.

Detectives investigating murder and other paramilitary crimes are now expected to seek possession of tapes of Winston 'Winkie' Rea's account to Boston College.

The material has been kept under lock and key while Rea fights a legal battle to stop the PSNI from listening in.

His lawyers will make one final bid to get the case before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg on an emergency basis.

Rea was among dozens of loyalists and republicans who provided testimonies to Boston College researchers compiling an oral history of the Northern Ireland conflict. Interviews were given on the understanding that tapes would not be made public until after their deaths.

Those assurances were dealt a blow in 2013 when detectives investigating the abduction and murder of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville back in 1972 secured the transcripts of former IRA woman Dolours Price's account.

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