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New inquest into loyalist murder

The Attorney General has ordered a new inquest into the loyalist paramilitary murder of a man more than 20 years ago, according to lawyers for the victim's family.

Father-of-three Gerard Slane was gunned down by the Ulster Defence Association at his west Belfast home in September 1988.

Military intelligence officers have been accused of failing to pass on information about the impending attack.

Brian Nelson, an Army agent infiltrated into the UDA, is widely believed to have identified Mr Slane as a target for the killers. Nelson was charged following an investigation by the Stevens inquiry team, which examined allegations of security force collusion with loyalists. He stood trial in connection with a number of murders, including that of Mr Slane.

Lawyers acting for the victim's family, Kevin R Winters & Co, made submissions to the Attorney General in a bid to have the case re-examined. Mr Slane's widow, Teresa, welcomed the decision to hold a new inquest.

She said: "It is 23 years after Gerard's murder and there is never a day that we as a family stop thinking of him.

"We have many questions about Gerard's murder. Our pain and grief is no different to that of other families also bereaved in the conflict - that Gerard's murder has been clouded in secrecy and cover-up only adds to these emotions.

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"It is important that after all this time there may now be a proper opportunity to examine Gerard's murder and the roles played by all of those involved."

Solicitor Kevin Winters claimed there were "many disturbing features and unanswered questions" in the case.

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