Belfast Telegraph

Elim Church worker one of most prolific serial killers alive in Northern Ireland today, claims BBC Spotlight

Alan Oliver with BBC reporter Mandy McAuley
Alan Oliver with BBC reporter Mandy McAuley
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

An outreach worker with the evangelical Elim Church in Portadown has been 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, claims there were three key gunmen in the notorious Mid-Ulster LVF, led in the 1990s by Billy Wright until he was killed while in the Maze prison in December 1997.

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

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

The programme says Oliver was a regular name on police files and had been named in court as being linked to the killing of three people, including teenagers Eileen Duffy (19) and 15-year-old Katrina Rennie, who died along with 29-year-old Brian Frizzell as they worked at a mobile shop in Lurgan in 1991.

The shop had been owned by a former Sinn Fein member, who was the intended target.

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 claims, the chief suspect in the January 1992 Co Tyrone 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, Mr Oliver replied: "I have nothing to say."

The programme reveals that from 1987 the number of murders by loyalists rose significantly and became less random.

Former IRA man Tommy McKearney, a brother-in law of Bernadette McKearney, who took part in the 1980 hunger strike in the Maze prison, said there was no doubt loyalist terrorists were targeting family members at a time when secret talks between Sinn Fein and the UK Government were edging towards an IRA ceasefire.

"The British Army was killing active republicans, loyalism was killing relatives of republicans," he said. "I think perhaps the effect was that it left the organisation and its support base feeling vulnerable rather than anything else. It created a sense of vulnerability which facilitated, in turn, an acceptance of the ceasefire."

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