A warm welcome always awaited Eugene Reavey at the Glenanne farm. He would sit at the big wooden table in the kitchen, checking the paperwork, as farmer James Mitchell chatted away. The young housekeeper, Lily Shields, would bring them mugs of tea and freshly baked bread or currant scones.
The pair knew Eugene was a Catholic, but it didn't seem to matter.
"They were warm and friendly," he recalls. "James was a typical big oul' farmer in his mid-50s. He'd talk about tractors or cattle sales, never politics. Lily was a fair-haired, good looking girl in her early twenties. Maybe not the brightest, but a hard worker and very pleasant. I can still see her warming herself at the stove.
"I visited every month as a poultry adviser. I never had an inkling there was anything untoward going on. But it was in that farm that the plans to wipe out my family were hatched. James Mitchell was part of the team that night, and Lily drove the getaway car."
It is 45 years today since the Glenanne gang burst into the Reaveys' home in Whitecross just two miles down the road from the farm. They didn't need a sledgehammer to smash their way into the cottage because the key was already in the door latch. Every visitor was welcome.
Photographs of the murder scene would break your heart. A Christmas tree sits in the corner of the living room. A sprig of holly peeps from the top of a picture of the Sacred Heart. The blood on the carpet and bullet marks in the door betray the devastation that the gunmen brought.
The three Reavey brothers were watching Celebrity Squares on TV when their attackers struck. John Martin (24) died in a hail of bullets in an armchair. Brian (22) ran into a bedroom but was fatally shot in the back. Anthony (17) hid under a bed. The gunmen riddled the mattress, then left, believing he was dead. Although seriously injured, he managed to crawl 200 yards to a neighbour's house to raise the alarm. He died from a brain haemorrhage three weeks later.
The death toll could easily have been worse, Eugene says: "Usually on a Sunday evening, the 12 of us would have been home but my mother had taken everybody except the three boys out to visit my aunt."
Eugene's younger brother Oliver was the first one back to discover the carnage. He didn't speak for 12 months. For years, Sadie Reavey still set places at the table for her three dead sons. "She'd run after young fellows with red hair on the street, thinking they were Anthony," says Eugene. "She would look in the shops for a shirt that would suit Brian, or a jersey for John Martin."
That wasn't the end of the killing spree that night of January 4, 1976. After the attack on the Reaveys, other members of the Glenanne gang burst into the O'Dowds' home 15 minutes up the road in Gilford, Co Down.
The family were gathered around the piano for a post-New Year sing-song. The gunmen killed Barry O'Dowd (24), his brother Declan (19) and their uncle Joe (61).
The Glenanne gang operated in a murder triangle between south Armagh and mid-Ulster. Made up of RUC and UDR men, who had joined forces with the local UVF, it is alleged to have had close links with British military intelligence. It was responsible for around 120 killings in the mid-70s, including the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and the Miami Showband massacre.
In its Glenanne farm base, murder was plotted, guns stored, and explosives mixed. A stone hen and an eagle sat on the gateposts at the bottom of the narrow lane that led to the farm. It was a tranquil spot with a small lake beside it.
Mitchell was an RUC reserve officer and staunch loyalist who boasted many UVF members as close friends. Lily began working for him as a poultry hand, collecting and cleaning fresh eggs and preparing them for sale. She graduated to becoming the housekeeper.
"Her family were decent people, and I don't think she would have become involved in murder had she not met certain individuals in the farm," says Eugene. "A while after I got the job as a poultry adviser, a Protestant colleague warned me: 'You watch yourself around Mitchell's farm'. I didn't know what he meant and he wouldn't tell me anything more."
Lily had become romantically involved with Robert McConnell - a UDR corporal and seasoned UVF killer. He was the lead gunman in the attack on the Reaveys. He was shot dead outside his home by the IRA three months later.
Lily later began a relationship with Mitchell who was 30 years her senior. Eugene says Mitchell was the second gunman who killed his brothers.
Another Glenanne gang member, RUC man Billy McCaughey, admitted he had taken part in the attack but didn't fire shots. He was later convicted of the April 1977 murder of Catholic chemist William Strathearn, along with fellow RUC officer and gang member John Weir.
Strathearn had been lured out of his Ahoghill home by two men who said they urgently needed medicine for a sick child. After his release from prison in 1996, McCaughey was involved in loyalist protests outside the Catholic Church at Harryville in Ballymena. But he went on to become involved in cross-community work. In 2004, he attended an official dinner as a guest of President Mary McAleese in Aras an Uachtarain. He died of lung cancer two years later.
John Weir turned whistle-blower on the Glenanne gang. He has claimed that while senior RUC officers didn't sanction its activities, they were aware of what was going on and took no steps to stop it.
The son of a gamekeeper, born in a Co Monaghan estate, Weir had attended a Protestant boarding school in Dublin. Over six feet tall and powerfully built with blonde hair and blue eyes, he had an imposing physical presence. He initially considered joining the gardai, but opted for the RUC in 1970 aged 20. He now lives in South Africa.
In his affidavit to Irish Supreme Court Justice Henry Barron, Weir named the gunmen in the Reavey attack as McConnell, Mitchell, and RUC officer Laurence McClure who had a repair garage beside the Glenanne farm. McClure - the only one of the trio still alive - has strongly denied Weir's allegations.
Ex-UDR member Robin 'the Jackal' Jackson was involved in planning the Reavey attack, although he didn't take part as he was the lead gunman in shooting the O'Dowd family that night.
Jackson was a key UVF figure and alleged British agent who was involved in dozens of murders over two decades.
He was never convicted of any killing. He died of lung cancer in 1998.
Eugene accuses the state of allowing the Glenanne gang to operate largely with impunity: "A few days after my brothers were killed, a Protestant publican in Markethill told my father the names of the men responsible. He'd heard talk about it in the bar.
"My father made myself and my four other brothers all swear never to retaliate or join any republican group. He kept the names he had been given to himself until he was on his death bed in 1981, and then he told me. I kept them secret until 2006 when the HET (Historical Enquiries Team) was investigating the murders. The names that I had matched the ones that they had."
Eugene says the HET was the first state body to show any real interest in securing justice for his family: "I found the police mostly hostile and unhelpful. There was one officer who did his best, but he got nowhere.
"The case file was a page and a half long - imagine that for a triple murder. We were told a few months after the attack that, bar someone confessing, the case was closed. We felt the lives of Brian, Anthony and John Martin were seen as worthless.
"Nobody was ever prosecuted. There are those who still find it easier to just blame loyalists for the Glenanne gang killings and not to acknowledge security force involvement because it makes them nervous. I say to them 'Walk a mile in my moccasins and you'll change your mind'."
Some cast doubt on the motives of whistleblower John Weir, claiming he isn't a credible witness because he is a convicted murderer with a grudge against the police.
Eugene believes Weir has been truthful: "The gardai found him an impressive witness whose allegations had to be taken seriously. Dave Cox, the head of the HET, said exactly the same to me. Judge Barron told me that nobody had been able to contradict Weir, and much of what he has said has been corroborated by ballistic reports."
In 2000, during the Barron Inquiry, the RUC told gardai that Lily Shields was dead when she was still alive. Her involvement in the Reavey attack wasn't her only role in the Glenanne gang's activities.
A fortnight earlier, in December 1975, Lily and Laurence McClure had posed as a courting couple in the car which picked up Glenanne gang members involved in a gun attack on Donnellys Bar in Silverbridge in which two men and a 14-year-old boy were murdered.
Under police caution, they both admitted their roles. Charges were brought against them for withholding information but were later dropped. McClure was convicted for his role in the June 1976 bombing of the Rock Bar, near Keady. He received a two year suspended sentence.
After his brothers' murder, Eugene didn't return to the Glenanne farm. He never saw Lily again, but Mitchell would often drive past the Reaveys' home on his way to Bessbrook or Newry. "He'd stick his two fingers up at me, it was unbelievable," says Eugene.
Former Bedfordshire Chief Constable Jon Boutcher is conducting an investigation into the Glenanne gang. Mitchell died in 2008, aged 88. He left Lily £120,000 in his will. Lily died three years later, aged 59. She was in bad health and suffering from arthritis.
"I felt relief when they died. I thought a chapter in my life had now closed, but it hadn't," says Eugene. "Both of them took their secrets to the grave. The pain of losing my brothers remains strong inside me. My mother died in 2013, but I can still feel her grief through the decades. Trying to keep it together at home for our sakes, then running after red-haired boys in the streets, shouting 'Anthony, it's your mammy!'"