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UVF name murdered loyalist as Ballymurphy sniper

Pictured in Long Kesh in the mid 1970s are UVF men (l-r) Frankie Curry, Joe Bennett, alleged Ballymurphy sniper Trevor King, Jackie Mahood, Billy Hutchinson and Billy Mitchell. Picture from Aaron Edwards, author of UVF Behind the Mask

A VETERAN UVF commander, who was murdered by the INLA in 1994, is alleged to have been the sniper whose name is to be passed to the Coroners Service ahead of an inquest into the Ballymurphy massacre.

Trevor King was a 'lieutenant-colonel' in the paramilitary group when he was fatally injured in a gun attack on the Shankill Road on June 16, 1994.

Colin 'Crazy' Craig also died in the attack along with David Hamilton who was seriously injured and died the following day. King who was later honoured in a UVF mural on the Shankill, died in hospital three weeks later.

He had previously been jailed for the sectarian killings of Gerard McClenaghan and Anthony Molloy. Both men were murdered in 1975 in separate gun attacks. The convictions were based on supergrass evidence.

He was jailed for UVF membership in 1972, the year after 10 people were killed in three days of violence that became known as the Ballymurphy massacre. A Catholic priest and a mother-of-eight were among the casualties.

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While it was previously rumoured that loyalists were involved in the shootings, relatives believe British soldiers positioned on top of flats in the loyalist Springmartin estate, and shooting from the Henry Taggart army base, were responsible for the fatalities.

There were two regiments of British soldiers, the Queen's Own Regiment and the Parachute Regiment stationed in west Belfast at the time of the attack.

After a lengthy campaign by the families of those killed a fresh inquest, which is due to start in September, was secured.

Armed and masked members of the UVF pictured in 2000 at a memorial to gunman Trevor King shot dead by the INLA in 1994.

On Wednesday it was reported that 'veterans' within the UVF had identified a gunman who they say was positioned at a vantage point in the Springmartin estate and who may have been responsible for a number of deaths and some of the injuries.

King's name and details of a rifle used, and its subsequent seizure by the authorities, is to be provided to the Coroners Service through a solicitor. He would only have been 18 year's-old at the time of the Ballymurphy shootings.

Progressive Unionist Party leader Billy Hutchinson described the revelation as a "significant move". He also called on the IRA to give information about what they know about activities of their members at that time.

Relatives of those who died said this week they were "sceptical" of the claims.

John Teggart, whose father Daniel (44) was one of the victims, said the paramilitary group was "not trying to help the families, they are trying to distract from what the focus needs to be on".

Trevor King was shot by an unmasked INLA gunman who got out of a car on the Shankill Road walked up to the crowd of loyalists and shot all three in the head or neck at close range.

It was later claimed there was collusion between the INLA and UVF who wanted Craig dead as he was believed to be an informer and was under investigation at the time.

There were also claims that King, who had been a gunman for the paramilitary group all his adult life, was opposed to the 1994 loyalist ceasefire which was called three months later.

In the days that followed a number of people were killed by the UVF in retaliation, including six people watching a World Cup football match at the Heights Bar in Loughinisland, Co Down.

Relatives of those killed in the Ballymurphy Massacre hold photos of the victims 

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