Belfast Telegraph

Roseann Mallon murder: Army 'swamped area' prior to loyalist killing


Security forces had intensified their activities in the area where Catholic pensioner Roseann Mallon was murdered almost 20 years ago, an inquest has heard.

An undercover Army unit set up in a wood, groups of armed men in combat clothing were a frequent sight and an attempt was made to recruit a farmer as a spy, it was claimed.

SDLP councillor Anthony McGonnell said: "That area seemed to be under almost a form of lockdown."

Ms Mallon (76), from Dungannon, was gunned down as she watched television in the living room of her sister-in-law's home at Cullenrammer Road, about five miles outside the Co Tyrone town on May 8, 1994. She was hit multiple times when two gunmen fired at the house.

The UVF said its mid-Ulster brigade was responsible and had been targeting relatives of Ms Mallon involved with the republican movement.

Loyalist killer Billy Wright was among those arrested in connection with the attack but no one has ever been convicted.

Two months after the murder, Army surveillance equipment, including a camera, was found in a field overlooking the Mallon household sparking claims of security force collusion.

Giving evidence at Belfast Coroner's Court, Mr McGonnell, a former teacher, said there had been a spike in the number of complaints about military activity in the weeks leading up to the killing, but afterwards the councillor received no complaints.

In the two weeks before Ms Mallon's death eight people were killed.

Mr McGonnell said locals were aware that a specialist Army unit had set up a base in a wood not far from the Mallon family home.

The inquest is among 29 controversial Troubles-related deaths which for years have been awaiting a full hearing. It is being heard by High Court Judge Mr Justice Weir.

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Belfast Telegraph


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