Belfast Telegraph

Exclusive: Face of ex-soldier who murdered Patrick Kielty's dad

Loyalist Watson set up comedian's dad to avenge IRA murder of brother

By Ciaran Barnes Chief Reporter

This is the man who killed comedian Paddy Kielty's father.

He's sectarian thug Delbert Watson, an ex-UDR member who to the unsuspecting eye seems like a regular doting grandfather.

But to those who really know him he is a bitter gunman responsible for terrorising towns and villages throughout south Down.

The 62-year-old was one of three local loyalists convicted of killing innocent building contractor Jack Kielty at his office in the village of Dundrum 30 years ago.

His TV star son Paddy, who is married to presenter Cat Deeley, spoke of his heartbreak at the callous UVF execution in a courageous documentary 'My Dad, the Peace Deal and Me' that aired on BBC 1 last Wednesday night.

In a pointed reference to Watson, and his father's two other killers William Bell and David Curlett, the funnyman revealed: "There was someone from the village involved, someone who knew him, and who met him and who decided he was next. I find that strange after all this time."

Delbert Watson, who now lives in Banbridge and is pictured for the first time today, is from a prominent loyalist family from Clough, Co Down.

He took part in the sectarian 1988 murder of Jack Kielty (45), who had absolutely no political connections, in cold-blooded sectarian retaliation for the IRA murder of his ex-prison officer brother Charles Watson the previous year.

Delbert Watson refused Sunday Life requests for an interview about his role in the killing.

But speaking from the doorstep of her Newcastle home last Friday, his ex-wife Linda Jean Watson told us: "Delbert walked out on me eight years ago without an explanation.

"I stood by him when he was in jail because I am a Christian woman and I took marriage vows.

"I watched Paddy's programme but it didn't tell the whole story, there were others killed. It's wrong to take a life, absolutely, but everyone's tears are the same."

Watson, Curlett and ex-Royal Marine Bell, who were members of the south Down UVF, were each sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Jack Kielty.

They were released from prison at the end of 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, which Paddy Kielty says he voted for despite knowing it would free his dad's killers.

After getting out of prison, Watson settled in Newcastle and Curlett moved back to Dundrum, while little has been heard of Bell (below) since.

In contrast to his fellow murderers, Delbert Watson continues to maintain a high profile throughout Co Down and can often be seen near the scene of the Kielty slaughter.

He is also extremely active on social media, ranting about DUP and Sinn Fein politicians who he accuses of being in the pay of the security services.

Without a hint of irony, deluded murderer Watson even criticises the Good Friday Agreement, which led to his early release from prison just 10 years into a life sentence.

In one social media tirade, he wrote: "As for the politicians who forced this disgraceful 'peace farce' upon us, they have no idea of the pain and suffering victims have went and continue to go through. May all those involved in bringing about this rot in hell."

At the time of Jack Kielty's murder, it was reported that he was targeted because he had been helping undercover TV reporters expose a UDA building site extortion racket in south Belfast.

Notorious Shankill Road gunman and Special Branch agent Ken Barrett, who also shot dead solicitor Pat Finucane in 1989, has been named as pulling the trigger.

However, sources in Dundrum believe that while this may have been a factor in Kielty's murder, the main reason was because that as chairman of the local GAA club he was a prominent Catholic and easy target.

They also spoke of how loyalists were determined to extract revenge after the IRA killing of Charles Watson, an ex-prison officer and UDR member the previous year.

"Initially the UVF planned to murder a Catholic car dealer in Clough, the village were Delbert Watson is from, but it was called off because Jack Kielty was an easier target," explained a source.

"Jack's office at Kelly McEvoy and Brown in Dundrum was up a flight of stairs and there was only one way into the place and out. He was a soft touch.

"After Charlie Watson's murder a few months before, Delbert Watson was pushing for revenge - any Catholic would do as far as he was concerned."

Loyalist insiders told Sunday Life that Kielty's role in helping undercover journalists expose a UDA extortion racket in the Ballynafeigh district of south Belfast led to the terror gang working together with a UVF unit in south Down to target him.

Some of those involved were later implicated in the 1994 Loughinisland massacre in which six innocent Catholics were shot dead in the Heights Bar by the UVF while watching an Ireland football match.

A 2016 Police Ombudsman report into the slaughter revealed that the chief suspect swore Delbert Watson into the UVF.

As part of his 'My Dad, the Peace Deal and Me' documentary, Paddy Kielty also spoke to Sinn Fein MLA Emma Rogan, whose father Adrian was murdered at Loughinisland.

Fighting back tears, he said: "Some of the people who killed my dad were also implicated in the killing of your dad, we share something in common."

An emotional Paddy also revealed that he can never forgive his father's killers, despite voting for the Good Friday Agreement.

He added: "I am not going to go and shake the hands of the people who killed my dad. I'm not going to give them a hug and tell them it is okay. But what you have to do is move on in your own head, embrace a new society and try and build a better future."

cbarnes@sundaylife.co.uk

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