Monday 23 September 2019

Former UDR man faces quiz on murder

A FORMER member of the Northern Assembly is expected to be questioned by detectives investigating the murder of a councillor whose body was found in a lake nearly 30 years ago.

Oliver Gibson, a member of the DUP and an ex-soldier in the UDR, is likely to be interviewed in connection with the death of Co Tyrone councillor Patrick Kelly.

Mr Gibson (69) refused to comment last night, but insisted: "I have nothing to hide and I have nothing to fear."

UDR soldiers have been at the centre of republican claims of collusion between the killers of Mr Kelly and the security forces in Co Tyrone.

Police confirmed a team had been formed to probe the murder of independent nationalist councillor Mr Kelly, who was found with two 56lb weights strapped to his body, in Lough Eyes near Lisbellaw, Co Fermanagh.

The father-of-three disappeared after locking up the Corner Bar in Trillick, Co Tyrone, on July 24, 1974.

That same night bloodstains, shirt buttons and cartridge cases were found on the roadside a mile from the town, where it is believed he met his killers. The 33-year-old Catholic's body floated to lake surface three weeks later. He had been shot a number of times.

Police had been under intense pressure to launch a fresh investigation into the murder amid the claims of collusion.

Nationalists in the area had claimed illegal mobile UDR checkpoints were operating in the area on the night Mr Kelly disappeared.

In January 1999, his family claimed they had been told a former UDR man had broken down in public and confessed to being involved in the killing.

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