Belfast Telegraph

Trio arrested over 1994 UVF murders of two Catholic workmen in north Belfast are released

By Colin Francis

Three men arrested by police investigating the murder of two Catholic workmen in north Belfast 20 years ago have been released by detectives.

Eamon Fox (44) and Gary Convie (24) were shot dead by the UVF at North Queen Street in north Belfast in May 1994.

The two Co Armagh men were gunned down as they sat in a car parked close to the building site they were working on while eating their lunch.

A gunman sprayed the car with automatic fire from a sub machine gun before fleeing.

Mr Fox had six children, while Mr Convie was a father-of-one.

Three men, aged 43, 52, and 65, were arrested on Tuesday morning. The PSNI later released them pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service

On Wednesday, a 48-year-old man was arrested in north Belfast and a 41-year-old woman was arrested in Antrim.

The arrests were all made as part of Operation Stafford, an investigation into a series of murders and serious crimes by the UVF in north Belfast.

One man previously convicted in connection with the murders has since died. A second man who appeared in court earlier this year charged with murder is currently on bail.

Mark Campbell (42) of Canning Place, Belfast, is also accused of the double killing.

Operation Stafford was originally called Operation Ballast and investigated the activities of the UVF in north Belfast, primarily a unit based in the Mount Vernon estate.

The police's serious crime branch took over the investigation from the HET at the end of 2009, renaming it Operation Stafford. The original probe was set up amid claims that security force members colluded with the UVF.

Former Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan, claimed paramilitary killers were protected from prosecution because they were police agents.

She examined the allegations after a complaint from Belfast man Raymond McCord, whose son, Raymond McCord jr, was murdered by the UVF in 1997.

Around 30 officers are involved in the operation.

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