Northern Ireland news

Suspected loyalist agent held liable for unlawful killing of three Catholics

Alan Oliver
Connla Young

A court has issued an order against a suspected loyalist agent holding him liable for the unlawful killing of three Catholics in Co Armagh.

The judgment has been issued in respect of mid Ulster loyalists Alan Oliver, Anthony McNeill and Thomas Harper.

Oliver is a suspected British agent who played a central role in the Mid Ulster UVF, which was responsible for dozens of sectarian murders.

Along with McNeill and Harper, Oliver has been linked to a gun attack on a mobile shop in the Drumbeg estate in Craigavon in 1991 which claimed the lives of Eileen Duffy (19), Katrina Rennie (16) and Brian Frizzell (29).

Brian Frizzell was hot dead by the UVF in Craigavon in 1991

Harper was later convicted for his part in the triple murder and given a life sentence.

During police interrogation he identified Oliver as the killer and Anthony 'Tony' McNeill as also being involved.

During interrogation Harper claimed that after the attack Oliver used a radio to say "Tatie bread" to indicate to other gang members that someone had been killed.

He also claimed that leading UVF members Billy Wright and Mark ‘Swinger' Fulton were also both involved in planning the deadly attack.

Eileen Duffy

The original target was said to be the shop’s owner, who it was claimed had refused to serve members of a UDR patrol.

It was later confirmed to lawyers acting for relatives of the dead that "no investigation file in respect of Oliver or McNeill was ever submitted to the DPP for a decision as to prosecution."

Now a born-again Christian, Oliver has previously been involved with Portadown Elim Church.

In recorded testimonies posted online he has claimed to having been "heavily involved in organised crime and political violence”.

Katrina Rennie

The court order was issued after civil proceedings were launched by Pat Frizzell, a brother of Brian Frizzell.

In addition to the three named loyalists, he has launched action against the PSNI chief constable, Ministry of Defence and Secretary of State.

Judgement was issued after Oliver, McNeill and Harper made no appearance to defend the action.

"I think it is a game changer," Pat Frizzell said last night.

"Hopefully this a step in the right direction on the road to truth and justice for us and all the other families."

The mobile shop in which three Catholics were shot dead by loyalist gunmen in Craigavon 1991

Mr Frizzell's solicitor Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, said his firm will be "serving the orders this week and will ask the court to assess damages after the case against the state has finished".

And he added: "Getting an order like this is a timely reminder to the police, military, the intelligence services and the British government itself that collectively they haven’t done their job in pursuing killers.

"Any attempts at amnesties to try and concrete over the past won’t stop legal action like this."

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