Louginisland: Claims officer tried to set up south Down republican

The Height's Bar in Loughinisland where six men were murdered.

A retired detective has claimed a colleague involved in the investigation into the murder of six people in Co Down in 1994 was more interested in setting up a suspected IRA man than catching the killers.

Former Detective Jimmy Binns makes a number of shocking allegations in the documentary No Stone Unturned, including that investigates the failure to prosecute the UVF gang responsible for the Loughinisland atrocity.

Six men died and several other people were injured when gunmen sprayed The Heights Bar during a World Cup match between Ireland and Italy in 1994.

Mr Binns said he was present when Ronnie Hawthorne the chief suspect in the UVF attack was questioned by detectives.

Hawthorne is thought to be Person A in the Police Ombudsman's report into the attack released last year.

The retired detective told film maker Alex Gibney that during one of the police interviews his colleague tried to convince Hawthorne to kill a man who is a member of a well known republican family in the Castlewellan area.

The man's brother was shot dead by the British army in the early 1970s. Media reports from the time said he was on the RUC wanted list and was an IRA 'adjutant'.

The Irish News contacted the republican who still lives in the South Down area but he did not respond to our calls.

Mr Binns also told the film makers that he was the detective sent to interview the last registered owner of the loyalist gang's getaway car the morning after the attack. However, said he was prevented from speaking to the man from the Shankill area of west Belfast by a local detective.

He told the makers of the documentary he came away with the distinct impression "people were being protected".

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