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IRA informers 'helped set up republican for murder'

Setanta Marley says his family will take legal against British authorities over the death of his father in 1987. Picture by Hugh Russell
Connla Young

INFORMERS in the IRA are suspected of providing information that led to the loyalist murder of a senior republican in north Belfast man almost 30 years ago.

Laurence ‘Larry’ Marley was shot dead by the UVF in front of his wife and new-born son as he answered a knock at the door of his Ardoyne home in April 1987.

The senior IRA man was gunned down 18 months after serving a 13-year jail term for IRA activities.

His family is now preparing to sue the PSNI chief constable, Ministry of Defence and Secretary of State Theresa Villiers over his death claiming security services played a part in targeting the father-of-six by passing information to his loyalist killers, facilitating the attack and protecting their own agents.

The 41 year-old was one of the masterminds behind the 1983 Maze mass prison escape although he did not take part in the jail break himself.

His funeral was delayed for three days after the RUC launched a massive security operation and formed a heavily armed cordon around his home to prevent any paramilitary displays.

Two attempts to bury the IRA man were aborted after RUC officers surrounded his cortege.

His funeral finally took place six days after his death.

During the stand-off undertakers had to re-embalm the body in the house amid threats from the RUC that it would be seized under public health laws.

The episode led to Bishop of Down and Connor Cahal Daly calling on the RUC to rethink its approach to dealing with paramilitary funerals.

It is now thought that the senior republican was set up by a number of agents within the IRA who supplied information to their security force handlers on his movements and who in turn passed it on to the UVF.

His son Setanta believes that information was “passed on by republican agents to their handlers which would have added to the knowledge of my father’s involvement in planning the 'great escape’ in 1983 which was a major embarrassment to the Thatcher administration, especially in the shadow of the hunger strike.”

Setanta, who was only two week’s old when his father was killed, accused the PSNI of failing to investigate his death properly.

“The behaviour of the security forces at the funeral is nothing short of proving investigative bias,” he said.

He said the family wants “accountability and truth on the part of the British government” and has been “put in a position where they have to pursue a civil action in the hope that the discovery process divulges information that can provide assistance and the truth”.

Mr Marley, who is a member of the legal team at KRW Law taking his father’s case, said the family was also engaged with the Police Ombudsman on the matter.

He said he believes his father’s murder was “sanctioned at the highest echelons of the British establishment” and described the RUC's actions during the funeral as "vicious".

Mr Marley said that in the months before his father's death he had been arrested several times and threatened while being questioned by the RUC at Castlereagh holding centre.

He said that floor plans and diagrams of the family home were also taken during security force raids in the run up to his death.

Mr Marley said his family also wants a new inquest under Article Two of the European Convention of Human Rights.

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