Northern Ireland news

Murdered journalist Martin O'Hagan's murderers were ‘paid police informers'

Journalist Martin O'Hagan was shot dead in Lurgan on September 28, 2001
Staff Reporter

JOURNALIST Martin O'Hagan's murderers have never been brought to justice because some were "paid police informers", an ex-newspaper editor has claimed on the fifteenth anniversary of his death.

Police had allegedly been warned in advance about the loyalist killers driving around Lurgan prior to the 51-year-old's murder.

Mr O'Hagan was shot dead on September 28, 2001 in Lurgan as he walked home from a night out with his wife.

No-one has been convicted of the Sunday World reporter's murder.

The killing was admitted by the Red Hand Defenders, a cover name used by both the LVF and UDA.

Former Sunday World northern editor Jim Campbell was a close friend of Mr O'Hagan and worked with him for several years.

He claimed Mr O'Hagan's killers were never convicted because members of the LVF gang involved were "paid police informers".

"They boasted they would never face trial because they could reveal damning information about collusion between the police and LVF in several sectarian killings," he said.

Mr Campbell, who was shot and seriously wounded in a UVF gun attack in 1984, also claimed police knew the names of Mr O'Hagan's murderers within hours of the drive-by shooting.

He said officers had been warned in advance about "the LVF gang driving round Lurgan as if they were looking for someone" by a local loyalist, who gave their names to police shortly after the murder.

Mr O'Hagan was the first journalist killed in the line of work in the history of the Troubles.

In 2012, Lurgan man Neil Hyde was given a three-year jail term after his initial sentence of 18 years was reduced by 75 per cent for helping police investigate the killing.

He had agreed to help police in return for a reduced sentence for 48 LVF-linked offences.

At the weekend a spokesman for the first and deputy first minister said it was "unacceptable" that no-one has been convicted of Mr O'Hagan's murder.

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