Belfast Telegraph

I won't be silenced just to get truth, I want justice, says dad of UVF victim

By Noel McAdam

The campaigning father of a loyalist murder victim has insisted he will not be silenced in order to obtain documents that could reveal how his son died - or how police protected the killers.

Raymond McCord has fought to expose the violence of loyalist paramilitaries since his 22-year-old son was murdered by the UVF almost 20 years ago.

But he said he placed justice above whatever information may be handed over.

His son, also called Raymond, was beaten to death with concrete blocks, and evidence later emerged that police suppressed evidence to protect an informer.

A report on collusion between police and loyalists concluded that a number of failures in the murder investigation may have significantly reduced the chances of anyone ever being prosecuted for the crime.

But that has not stopped Mr McCord Sr from fighting to ensure the perpetrators and any police guilty of wrongdoing are brought to justice.

However, the Newtownabbey man said he disagreed with how others were prepared to deal with the past.

Last week, the brother of an IRA man shot dead by the Army in Londonderry in 1972 said he would accept government demands for silence in return for "the truth".

Daniel Bradley said he would be prepared to sign a guarantee not to put details of his brother Seamus's death into the public domain if he could see security forces files.

Mr Bradley, whose brother was 19 when he was shot dead in Londonderry during Operation Motorman in 1972, said: "I will sign any form they want me to, in good faith if I can just see the documents which might show me what actually happened."

But Mr McCord insisted that, for him at least, that would be the wrong way to go.

Both men were part of a group that met the Lord Chief Justice earlier this month in an attempt to find a way forward in dealing with long-delayed Troubles inquests.

Mr McCord, who has unsuccessfully stood in several elections, said: "I am entitled to the same system and standard of justice as anyone else in the UK.

"I want the same justice as people are entitled to in Manchester or Cardiff or anywhere else.

"Why should I have to settle for less? Why should my son's death be of a different value than the murder of Stephen Lawrence or the pursuit of Nazi war criminals?

"I can understand what Daniel is saying, but I am not willing to give up on seeing the perpetrators of Raymond's death and those involved in covering it up being brought to book."

Mr McCord, who is now seeking a meeting with First Minister Arlene Foster, added: "The Government does not want to see the police and the security forces being brought to book, and the political parties have not been honest with the people.

"I would like all the political parties to set out once and for all if they are in favour of immunity or some form of amnesty for killers."

Mr McCord also told how he did not have a problem with Mr Bradley's suggestion and did not believe it undermined his relentless campaign.

"I have met Daniel a number of times," he added. "I understand that (the silence proposal) is what he and some of the other victims may be prepared to do.

"But, just plain and simple, I think it is wrong. Justice is an essential part of democracy. Without it, we don't have a democracy."

Last month, Mr McCord called for a public inquiry into the controversial circumstances of his son's murder.

Belfast Telegraph


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