Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

UVF 'out of control' says woman shot six times by Ian Ogle murder gang

 

Jemma McGrath (Brian Lawless/PA)
Jemma McGrath (Brian Lawless/PA)

By Ciaran Barnes Chief Reporter

A woman who survived being shot six times by the same UVF unit that murdered Ian Ogle has accused his killers of "destroying lives".

Jemma McGrath hit out at the terror gang, saying: "If the so-called UVF wasn't handing these lads guns and bats and knives, they wouldn't have the ego to feel they have the power to run around the way they do.

"And now it's a power struggle between the (UVF) team to see who can do the most damage to someone, because if they beat someone, shoot someone, and now actually murder someone they get treated like heroes"

Jemma's damning assessment of the East Belfast UVF came after security sources confirmed the identities of another two men questioned by cops about the horrific Ogle killing.

They are Alan 'Bo' Ervine and Robert Speers, both of whom are close friends of Jonny Brown (33), who has been charged with the killing but strongly denies involvement.

A further two men listed as police suspects but who have so far not been spoken to by police are Glenn Rainey - who flew out to Thailand the day after the Ogle murder and remains there - and Mark Sewell.

Sunday Life can also confirm that Neil Ogle, a cousin of the 45-year-old murder victim, was interviewed by detectives before being released without charge.

However, that was connected to a fight between him, Ian Ogle and his son Ryan Johnston in the hours before the knife killing.

There is no suggestion Neil Ogle was involved in the fatal UVF gang attack as he was being treated in hospital at the time.

Security sources, who dredged what is believed to be murder weapons from the Connswater River 10 days ago, say the net is tightening on the murder squad.

The funeral of Ian Ogle
The funeral of Ian Ogle

One insider told us: "We are expecting to charge people with murder in the coming days.

"The hold-up is down to DNA evidence taken from clothing belonging to Ian Ogle, the suspects and their getaway car being analysed. That, of course, takes time."

In the five weeks since the murder, the Ogle family have been inundated with messages of support, with high-profile UVF gun attack victim Jemma McGrath now adding her voice to those backing the family.

The 29-year-old survived being shot six times outside her east Belfast home in 2013 after being wrongly accused of giving an ecstasy tablet to overdose victim Alio McKenzie, the son of leading loyalist Alan 'Bloodnut' McKenzie. She has since reinvented herself as a high-profile businesswoman and beautician.

In social media posts encouraging the Ogle family, Jemma (right) said: "I've known these boys (UVF) my whole life and just to get a bit of respect while sitting in a bar at the weekend, they would do it (murder) in a heartbeat.

"One on one they couldn't beat snow off a rope, then the things they get away with just because they use a name or organisation."

Ian Ogle
Ian Ogle

Prior to his murder outside his Cluan Place home in east Belfast, Ian Ogle was the subject of an 18-month intimidation campaign by elements within the UVF.

The trouble began after a row in an east Belfast bar during which his son Ryan and daughter Toni Johnston were both assaulted.

The Ogle family had to pay £500 to cover the cost of repairs to the pub. They were also told to present themselves for a pre-arranged punishment attack at which their arms and legs were to be broken, but they refused leading to more threats.

Although living off the Albertbridge Road, Ian Ogle - who was a low-ranking UVF member- belonged to a unit based around the Beersbridge, Woodstock and Ravenhill roads.

This gang is controlled by a veteran loyalist who has little time for the Newtownards Road UVF members who carried out the killing. Security sources believe that this may explain the ferocity of the attack on the dad-of-two.

"Ogle was part of the UVF Ravenhill Road team and was very anti-drugs, his killers are part of an opposing faction who openly took drugs," explained an insider.

"The murder was as much about a clash between old-school and new-school UVF members as it was a personal dispute."

The UVF responded immediately to the Ogle killing by stating that it was not sanctioned by the leadership and was only okayed at a local level.

It also strongly condemned the murderers and dismissed its Newtownards Road commander who gave the attack the green light.

Leading figures in the East Belfast UVF told Sunday Life that they are furious that five weeks after the attack only one man, Johnny Brown, faces charges.

The PSNI has confirmed that at least five men were involved in the Ogle murder, using knives and hammers to fracture his skull and stab him 11 times.

Our UVF source said: "The murder of Ian Ogle was needless and sickening and anyone with information should take it to the PSNI. No one involved is being protected."

In a statement issued the day after the Ogle killing, the UVF said: "Whoever did it did not do it in the name of loyalism or the UVF.

"Actions of this sort undermine the positive transformation which is taking place with the organisation and we distance ourselves from the appalling act on a popular member of our local community. We send heartfelt condolences to the wider family circle."

 

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