Belfast Telegraph

Church’s silence over man named by BBC as ‘UVF serial killer’

Denials: Alan Oliver
Denials: Alan Oliver
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

The evangelical Elim Church in Portadown is remaining tight-lipped after one of its outreach workers was named by the BBC as "one of the most prolific serial killers still alive in Northern Ireland today".

The sixth episode of BBC NI's Spotlight On The Troubles: A Secret History, broadcast on Tuesday night, claimed there were three key gunmen in the notorious Mid-Ulster UVF, led in the 1990s by Billy Wright before he split to form the similarly bloodthirsty LVF. He was later shot dead by INLA inmates in the Maze Prison in December 1997.

While Wright was the key figure in directing the organisation, Mark Fulton and Laurence Maguire, both from the Craigavon area, were named as two of the gunmen in Wright's notorious murder gang.

A third gunman - who was never charged and who, the BBC claimed, could be responsible for killing between 10 and 15 people - was named by multiple sources as Alan Oliver, a close associate of Wright in the early 1990s.

The programme said Oliver was a regular name on police files and had been named in court as being linked to the killing of three people - teenagers Eileen Duffy (19) and Katrina Rennie (15), and 29-year-old Brian Frizzell - murdered in an attack on a mobile shop in Lurgan in 1991.

The shop had been owned by a former Sinn Fein member.

Oliver was not charged, and eight months later avoided prosecution again over links to another triple murder at a forklift factory in Craigavon. He was also, the programme claimed, the chief suspect in the January 1992 murders of Kevin and Jack McKearney in their butchers' shop in Moy, and of killing Charlie and Tess Fox, parents of Kevin's wife Bernadette, who were shot dead in their home in Moy by the UVF on September 6 the same year.

Bernadette's brother Paddy Fox was in jail at the time, having been convicted of being in possession of an IRA bomb.

When confronted by the BBC Oliver replied: "I have nothing to say."

Neither Portadown Elim Pentecostal Church or Elim Churches Ireland responded to several requests for comment.

Spotlight also revealed that from 1987 the number of murders by loyalists rose significantly and became less random.

Former IRA man Tommy McKearney said there was no doubt loyalist terrorists were targeting family members of republicans at a time when secret talks between Sinn Fein and the UK Government were edging towards a ceasefire.

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