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Belfast man James Smyth facing charges over double murder of Catholic workmen 27 years ago

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Catholic builders Eamon Fox (left) and Gary Convie were murdered in 1994 as they ate lunch in their car.

Catholic builders Eamon Fox (left) and Gary Convie were murdered in 1994 as they ate lunch in their car.

Catholic builders Eamon Fox (left) and Gary Convie were murdered in 1994 as they ate lunch in their car.

A man is facing prosecution on charges of murdering two Catholic workmen in Belfast nearly 27 years ago, it emerged on Wednesday.

James Smyth, 54, appeared at the city's Magistrates Court over his alleged involvement in the double killing of Gary Convie and Eamon Fox.

Mr Convie, 24, and Mr Fox, 44, were shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries as they ate lunch at a building site on North Queen Street in May 1994.

Smyth, of Forthriver Link in Belfast, and co-accused Mark Campbell had previously been jointly charged with their murders.

But in 2015 criminal proceedings against both of them were withdrawn on a without prejudice basis.

North Belfast man Campbell, 45, died suddenly months later.

The case against Smyth has now been resurrected by the alternative process of an indictable summons.

He appeared remotely from his solicitor John Greer's offices for a scheduled preliminary enquiry into the case against him.

Smyth is to be charged with the two workmen's murders and the attempted murder of a third individual - identified only as Witness A - on the same date.

He also faces further counts of possessing a Sten submachine gun and ammunition with intent to endanger life, and belonging to a proscribed organisation, namely the Ulster Volunteer Force.

However, defence barrister Paul Bacon told the court more time was needed to examine a "voluminous" amount of material which has just been received.

According to a legal source the decision to charge Smyth again was taken up to three years ago.

Granting an adjournment requested by the defence, District Judge Fiona Bagnall listed the case for a review in April. ends

Belfast Telegraph


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