Belfast Telegraph

Billy Wright inquiry poised to release its findings

The long-awaited report into the killing of loyalist leader Billy Wright is due to be published tomorrow, 13 years after the LVF terror boss was murdered.

He was assassinated by the INLA inside the Maze jail on December 27, 1997, in a gun attack led by Christopher ‘Crip’ McWilliams.

McWilliams, who has since died, was serving a life sentence for murdering Belfast bar manager Colm Mahon six years earlier. He’d been thrown out of the bar, but returned with a gun and killed the young supervisor.

INLA and LVF prisoners were housed in a shared H-block at the jail. Wright, known as King Rat, was shot dead in a minibus that was taking him to a visit outside the H-Block compound.

The INLA men cut through a wire fence separating the two sides of the prison block, ambushing Wright as he was trapped in the back of the vehicle.

He was shot several times with guns smuggled into the jail and died soon after. The killers surrendered and were released under the Good Friday Agreement.

Wright’s father David campaigned for the inquiry into his son’s death. He believes his son was set up to be killed after he opposed the peace process.

Sinn Fein Upper Bann MLA John O’Dowd said recently that the victims “continue to seek the truth about Billy Wright and his associates and the relationship with RUC Special Branch and the murky world of British intelligence”.

He said: “Billy Wright and his gang were responsible for numerous murders of innocent Catholics across a number of counties.

“Most nationalists are of the firm view that Billy Wright and the gang he led were controlled, directed and manipulated by British State agencies.

“The fact is, the Mid-Ulster UVF under Wright, Richard Jameson and Robin Jackson were allowed to kill with impunity. That’s the murky world that Wright operated in.

He added: “It would be no surprise to anyone if the State was involved in Wright’s death given the fact they were such an integral part of his life and his activities.”

Tomorrow some questions may be answered.

But many believe the full truth will never be known.

Belfast Telegraph

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