Northern Ireland news

Widow of bookies massacre victim widens lawsuit to include British government

William McManus was among five men shot dead at Sean Graham bookmakers on Belfast's Ormeau Road in 1992

THE widow of a man murdered in a loyalist massacre at a Belfast bookmakers has widened a lawsuit to include claims against the Ministry of Defence and British government.

Rosaleen McManus is seeking damages over allegations that a gun used in the killings at the Sean Graham shop was part of a consignment smuggled in from South Africa by a state agent.

Her 54-year-old husband William was among five Catholic men shot dead by the UDA inside the bookies on Belfast's Ormeau Road in February 1992.

A number of other civilians were also wounded in the attack.

Mrs McManus issued proceedings against the Chief Constable, claiming negligence and misfeasance in public office.

Her lawyers revealed that the High Court writ has now been widened to include the Ministry of Defence and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

According to their case, the authorities should have known a rifle used in the atrocity was part of an arms shipment overseen by Brian Nelson, a UDA member who worked for British intelligence.

Solicitor Claire McKeegan, of KRW Law, described a ruling to have the government joined to the action as "hugely significant".

"So much evidence is now in the public domain that proves the security services had knowledge of the shipment of arms into Northern Ireland from South Africa by state agent Brian Nelson," she said.

Ms McKeegan claimed it was "illogical" for the Secretary of State to contest being joined to the case.

"This strategy is unconscionable and results only in delay of the proceedings before the courts and further pain to be inflicted on the bereaved," she said.

"We will now be pressing to have disclosure in these matters and expedite the hearing."

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