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Family of 1976 UDA victim complains to Police Ombudsman

By Donna Deeney

The family of a man murdered by loyalists 41 years ago has lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman over an unanswered question about the original investigation put to the Chief Constable five years ago.

A 2012 Historical Enquiries Team report into the death of Jim Loughery (36), a father-of-eight who was shot dead at the front door of his home in Greysteel village, said "collusion between security forces and loyalist paramilitaries" could not be ruled out.

The report also found evidence that the UDA 'brigadier' in Londonderry in November 1976 and former member of the B Specials ordered the murder of Mr Loughery and another man, John Toland, who worked as a barman in the neighbouring village of Eglinton, a few days later.

The Loughery family raised concerns about the investigation into the murder in 2012 but a lack of response from the Chief Constable prompted the complaint to the Ombudsman which comes on the anniversary of Mr Loughery's death.

His son Johnny, who was nine years of age and the second youngest of the eight children at the time of his father's murder, said the family are only interested in obtaining information, not prosecutions.

He said: "We lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman based on a number of questions we put to the Chief Constable back in 2012 relating to details in the HET report into my father's murder.

"There was never a proper investigation into his murder at the time. In fact it was 10 years after he died before my mother saw an RUC man and only then because information started to come out when one of the people involved, who was caught for something else, started to make statements.

"Not only was there no investigation, the RUC man put 'in charge' of the investigation had threatened my dad three weeks before he was shot."

Mr Loughery said that they hoped the Ombudsman would get answers to their questions.

He said: "We are not looking for prosecutions because we realise there is a peace process, we just want answers. It has been 40-plus years and we would like the truth.

"My mother was left with eight children to bring up on her own with no help and although she has never lost the sense of the terrible injustice that was done at the time she made a call for no retaliation for my father's murder."

A PSNI spokeswoman said: "If a complaint has been lodged with PONI it would be inappropriate to comment at this time."

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