Northern Ireland news

Relatives of man killed by Garfield Beattie call for release licence to be revoked after arrest

Frederick McLoughlin was shot dead by the Glenanne Gang in 1976
Connla Young

RELATIVES of a man killed by Garfield Beattie have called for his release licence to be revoked after he was arrested on suspicion of making a threat against the daughter of one of his victims.

Beattie was part of the loyalist Glenanne Gang, which included members of the RUC, UDR and UVF and was responsible for a sectarian murder campaign in the mid-1970s thought to have resulted in up to 120 deaths.

He was detained near Portadown on Saturday morning and electronic items were also seized during a search of a property. He was later released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service

The arrest came after a threat, signed 'East Tyrone Ulster Volunteer Force', was received in the post last week by the daughter of one of his victims.

Beattie is currently the focus of legal action launched by the woman.

He served 16 years behind bars for his part in three murders, including the killing of Frederick McLoughlin who died in May 1976 from injuries received in a gun attack at the Eagle Bar in Charlemont, Co Armagh weeks earlier.

The 48-year-old was shot as a UVF gang made its escape following a no-warning bomb at another bar in the area, which claimed the lives of three people.

Beattie was also convicted for his part in the murder of SDLP activist Denis Mullen (36), who was shot dead at his home near the Moy in September 1975.

Another victim was Patrick McNeice (50), who was shot at his home in the Loughgall area of Co Armagh in July 1976.

Solicitor Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, has written to Secretary of State Brandon Lewis calling for Beattie's release licence to be revoked.

Mr McLoughlin's son Noel last night said his family also wants to see Beattie back behind bars.

“We want to see his licence revoked,” he said.

“We feel we have been tortured enough and we are still being tortured.”

He said the family only found out key details of their father's murder through the now defunct PSNI Historical Enquiries Team.

“It was only then we found out a bit of the truth but there is still more truth to find out about it I believe,” he said.

Former English police chief Jon Boutcher launched an investigation into the activities of the Glenanne gang last year.

Mr Winters said: “The news that a member of the Glenanne gang has been arrested affects a number of families of his victims.

“We now call on the Secretary of State to revoke this man's licence immediately. It’s the obvious and legally proportionate response to the latest revelations.

“Brandon Lewis needs to act right now in order to prevent any further escalation of stress and trauma families are suffering.”

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