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Veteran loyalist faces two murder charges connected to Troubles

Published 05/06/2016

John Benedict Devine died in 1989
John Benedict Devine died in 1989

A veteran loyalist has been charged with two murders allegedly committed during the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Winston "Winkie" Rea is accused of murdering John Benedict Devine in the Fallswater Street area of West Belfast on July 23 1989, and John Joseph Gerard O'Hara in the Dunluce Avenue area of South Belfast on April 17 1991.

The 65-year-old is due to appear in court in Belfast on Monday morning.

A fresh investigation into the two deaths was prompted by information contained on tapes obtained from Boston College in the US.

In 2001 the college in Massachusetts commenced a five-year oral history project aimed at documenting perspectives on the Troubles from those involved in the conflict.

Former paramilitaries, both republican and loyalist, were interviewed about their roles in the 40 years of violence which blighted Northern Ireland on the understanding that their accounts would not be made public until after their deaths.

But subsequent court rulings in the US have rendered that undertaking useless, as the PSNI were awarded custody of the tapes for investigative purposes.

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