Sunday 25 March 2018

Loyalist Winston 'Winkie' Rea is charged with two murders

Winston ‘Winkie’ Rea: denies murders of two Catholic men. Photo: David Young/PA Wire
Winston ‘Winkie’ Rea: denies murders of two Catholic men. Photo: David Young/PA Wire

Alan Erwin

Prominent loyalist Winston 'Winkie' Rea has denied murdering two Catholics in Belfast more than 25 years ago.

The 65-year-old stands accused of the paramilitary killings of workmen John Devine in 1989 and John O'Hara in 1991.

Rea, of Springwell Crescent, Groomsport, Co Down, faces 12 charges, including two other attempted murders, weapons offences and membership of the outlawed Red Hand Commando terror group.

Appearing before Belfast Magistrates' Court in a wheelchair, he was granted bail on the condition that he surrenders his passport.

Detectives from the PSNI's legacy investigation branch arrested him last Tuesday as part of a re-examination of murders stretching back into the Troubles.

The fresh probe came after police had won a legal battle to gain access to interviews Rea gave to Boston College researchers behind a project on the Northern Ireland conflict.

Mr Devine was shot dead at his home on Fallswater Street in west Belfast on July 23, 1989.

The 37-year-old was sitting in his living room along with his 13-year-old son when gunmen forced their way in and killed him.

Taxi driver Mr O'Hara (41) was shot dead by two masked men at Dunluce Avenue in the south of the city on April 17, 1991.

Irish Independent

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