Garfield Beattie is one of the Troubles most notorious killers. He is also now an artist who regularly paints republican icons that sell for hundreds of pounds and hang in respected galleries.
A member of the notorious Glenanne murder gang, he joined the UVF in 1974.
Beattie spent 16 years behind bars for three murders, including SDLP activist Denis Mullen (36), who was shot dead at his home near Moy, Co Tyrone, in September 1975.
His daughter, Aontu politician Denise Mullen, was just four-years-old when she witnessed the attack. He was also convicted for his part in the murders of Frederick McLoughlin (48) and Patrick McNeice (50), both killed in 1976.
A former Territorial Army reservist, in a recent interview Beattie claimed his grandfather, James McKeown, was a member of the IRA in the 1920s.
When approached by the Sunday Life earlier this year, the killer turned artist said he wouldn’t cooperate with any truth and reconciliation commission set up as part of the Government’s legacy proposals.
“I was one of the few who said nothing. The police know it all. People who were lifted made clandestine deals behind everybody’s back and got everybody else lifted.
“Why start naming names now? The past is the past and they are not going to get any conviction. I have thought about it [talking], but no”, he said.
The Glenanne gang, which was based at a south Armagh farm owned by former RUC reservist James Mitchell, who died in 2008, has been linked to more than 120 sectarian murders, largely throughout Tyrone and Armagh, during the 1970s and 1980s.
Despite being a senior member of the gang, Beattie has painted republican icons such as James Connolly and Michael Collins. Working from a studio in his Portadown home, he paints mainly abstract oils but also portraits of mainly historical republican figures. An oil painting of Michael Collins, the Irish revolutionary, soldier, and politician shot dead in 1922, sold at auction two years ago.
A work entitled ‘The Wind that Shook the Barley’, a play on the name of the Ken Loach film about the Irish war of Independence, last night had a bid for £120 on a well known auction site. A darker oil on canvas called ‘Still life with hatchet and bowler hat’ had a bid of £60.
Painting under the name Gerald Beattie, many of those viewing the painter’s work are unaware that the artist is a convicted multiple killer. Some of his recent works sold for £350. Beattie was convicted on Monday of harassing the daughter of one of his victims by sending her a letter signed East Tyrone UVF.