Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Disgust as loyalist 'serial killer' attends funeral of DUP veteran


Alan Oliver
Alan Oliver
Ciaran Barnes

By Ciaran Barnes

UVF 'serial killer' Alan Oliver showed up at the funeral of a DUP politician to the disgust of many members of the congregation.

The 49-year-old loyalist, who is suspected of involvement in 14 sectarian murders, stunned mourners when he calmly walked into Bethany Free Presbyterian Church in Portadown at the start of the December 9 service to remember Woolsey Smith.

One friend of the veteran DUP councillor who died earlier this month told Sunday Life of his shock.

He said: "The church was packed with people who were in a state of shock when Alan Oliver showed up. This is a man who is reported to be a serial killer, yet he walked on in with his head held high.

"I couldn't believe it and nor could many of those who had gone along to remember Woolsey, who was a humble and quiet man. Alan Oliver should be ashamed of himself, to see him at Woolsey's funeral was not right."

Oliver has been generally keeping a low profile since a recent TV documentary on the Troubles.

Sunday Life first named him as a prolific sectarian gunman back in 2014 - an allegation repeated by the BBC's Spotlight: A Secret History of the Troubles in October.

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Since the programme aired Oliver has been laying low, fearing that he could face civil action by the families of his 14 suspected victims. These include schoolboys Gavin McShane and Shane McArdle, both aged 17, and the victims of the Craigavon mobile shop murders - Katrina Rennie (16), Eileen Duffy (19) and Brian Frizzell (29).

Their relatives have alleged that Oliver was never prosecuted for the UVF murders, despite substantial evidence against him, because he was a protected informant.

Loyalist Thomas 'Tam' Harper, who was convicted of the mobile shop murders, named him in court as the gunman who carried out the slaughter.

Oliver previously told Sunday Life that he was not a state agent, saying: "Under no circumstances am I working for the HET (Historical Enquiries Team). I am working for nobody."

This was after this newspaper revealed he had met with cold case cops to try and cut a deal guaranteeing immunity from prosecution in return for making statements.

cbarnes@sundaylife.co.uk

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