Suspects in killing of Scottish soldiers Dougal McCaughey, Joseph and John McCaig 'still on run in Republic of Ireland'
Some of the main suspects in the killing of three Scottish soldiers in a 1971 IRA gun attack are believed to be still on the run in the Republic.
One of the men suspected of killing Dougald McCaughey (23), Joseph (18) and John (17) McCaig, is understood to be a former paratrooper who had settled in Ardoyne in Belfast.
The three soldiers were murdered by the IRA 45 years ago this evening. Simultaneous acts of remembrance will be held for the trio tonight at 7pm - the time they are believed to have died at the hands of gunmen.
The Belfast Telegraph can today reveal that despite previous claims they were lured to their deaths by republican women, a report by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) found they were "befriended" by IRA men in a bar.
The HET said it believed the soldiers became acquainted with the terrorists over the course of an afternoon of drinking in Belfast city centre, after which they were lured into a car on the false promise of meeting up with women.
The report said a barman recalled seeing the soldiers with two men, adding that the group of five left when a sixth man arrived, presumably to collect them. The soldiers were killed a short time later.
The report also revealed that while the RUC started the murder investigation, it was taken over by a team from the Metropolitan Police, and that officers interviewed some 341 witnesses in their probe.
It further detailed how police suspected north Belfast IRA man Patrick McAdorey and Anthony 'Dutch' Doherty of being involved in the deaths.
McAdorey was shot dead by the security forces before he could be charged with the murders. Doherty, meanwhile, escaped from Crumlin Road Gaol, where he had been interned, in December 1971 and went on the run in the Republic before he could be charged.
The HET noted that while Martin Meehan's name had been linked to the killings, there was no intelligence or evidence to formally connect him.
The other two suspects, who have not been named, are believed to be still on the run.
Police were said to have recovered 15 shells from the scene of the shootings, but no records have been found.
No one was ever charged over the murders, and the HET report found no new lines of inquiry in its review of the case.
"Murder investigations are never officially closed, but with the passage of time since 1971, it is unlikely that new investigative opportunities will arise," the review said.
Mr McCaughey's cousin, who first saw the HET's report in 2012, has consistently called for an investigation into the three murders.
"I want a public inquiry," David McCaughey previously told this newspaper. "A lot of the things I've already seen in the report, you wouldn't believe."