Massacre claims 'deeply troubling'
Cold case detectives unable to rule out state collusion in the Miami Showband massacre have admitted the allegations are deeply troubling.
Survivors and families of the victims of one of the most shocking atrocities of the Troubles said suggestions a police agent was involved has devastated them.
Three members of the hugely popular band were killed in the July 1975 Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) attack at a bogus checkpoint set up on the main Belfast to Dublin road, in Co Down.
The loyalist gang, including a number of serving Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) soldiers wearing British Army uniforms, gunned down the musicians after a bomb they tried to attach to their minibus exploded prematurely.
The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) - a unit which reports to Northern Ireland's chief constable Matt Baggott on cases during the conflict - tried but could not refute suspicions of security force involvement.
New evidence in the case centres around the involvement of notorious loyalist leader Robin "The Jackal" Jackson - believed to have been a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Special Branch agent - as well as the role of soldiers in the British Army's UDR.
Jackson's fingerprints were found on a silencer attached to a Luger pistol used in the murders.
The cold case unit found evidence he was tipped off by an RUC detective superintendent and a detective sergeant and was warned "to clear as there was a wee job up the country that he would be done for."
Stephen Travers, the band's bass player, who survived by pretending to be dead, said the finding was alarming.
"We believe the only conclusion possible arising from the HET report is that one of the most prolific loyalist murderers of the conflict was an RUC Special Branch agent and was involved in the Miami Showband attack," he said.