Northern Ireland

Off-duty officer 'may have witnessed Catholic man's murder'

UVF leader Robin Jackson
UVF leader Robin Jackson

AN off duty policeman may have witnessed the murder of a Catholic man by loyalist killer and suspected Special Branch British agent Robin 'The Jackal' Jackson, recently discovered documents reveal.

British army files confirm that an RUC officer may have been nearby when Patrick Campbell (34) was killed at his Banbridge home in October 1973.

Jackson, who was a member of the UDR, is believed to have been one of two men who called at Mr Campbell's home and shot him dead.

It has previously been claimed that the loyalist, who was a member of the Glenanne Gang, may have been responsible for more than 100 murders.

The Glenanne Gang targeted Catholics in the Mid Ulster area in the 1970s and included members of the RUC, UDR and UVF.

Documents recently discovered by the charity Paper Trail reveal that an off duty RUC member may have witnessed the murder of Patrick Campbell.

The British army log dated October 29, 1973, reveals that “an off duty policeman is reported to have witnessed the incident but no details are yet know about him”.

Days after the murder of Mr Campbell several loyalists, believed to include Jackson and then Mid Ulster UVF commander William Hanna, were arrested.

Jackson, who was identified during an identity parade by Mr Campbell’s widow, was charged with his murder.

The charges were later dropped.

Both Jackson and Hanna have been linked to the Dublin and Monaghan bombs in May 1974 when 34 people were killed.

Jackson is believed by some to have shot Hanna dead in 1975.

The documents also refer to a raid at a UDR base in Portadown on October 23, 1973, by men claiming to be from the UVF.

The report reveals that “from the information available it is probably that the group had inside assistance”.

The report said “it would appear at present” that UVF members from Portadown and Belfast were involved.

Other files also refer to a similar raid at a Territorial Army centre in Lurgan a year earlier.

Paper Trail researcher Ciarán MacAirt said: “At a time when many Irish Catholics and even some Protestants were being interned without charge, British soldiers Robin Jackson and Billy Hanna were released,” he said.

“A few months later, they were leading members of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings when they should have been in prison.”

Meanwhile, Mr MacAirt has launched a new book called Trope - Essays and Articles by Ciarán MacAirt.

He said "all profits will be donated to the charity Paper Trail to help victims and survivors in their pursuit of truth".

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