Northern Ireland news

File on former RUC man sent to PPS in Reavey brothers murder case

John Martin Reavey, 24, Brian Reavey, 22, and17-year-old Anthony Reavey died after being shot by the Glenanne Gang in south Armagh in January 1976
Connla Young

THE Police Ombudsman has sent a file on a former RUC officer to the Public Prosecution Service for potential offences including the murders of three Catholic brothers in south Armagh 45 years ago.

John Martin (24) and Brian (22) Reavey were shot dead by members of the notorious Glenanne Gang in January 1976.

A third brother, Anthony (17), died several weeks later from his injuries.

The loyalist gang, which is believed to have killed around 120 people, included members of the RUC, UDR and UVF.

It is understood the file was sent after new evidence came to light in recent months.

The Reavey attack took place during one of the bloodiest weeks in the Troubles.

Within minutes of the shooting three members of the O'Dowd family were also gunned down by the same gang near Gilford in Co Down.

A major development in the Reavey case came today when the Police Ombudsman confirmed that a file has now been forwarded to prosecutors.

"The Police Ombudsman's Office has submitted a prosecutorial advice file to the Public Prosecution Service in relation to potential offences by a former RUC officer in the 1970s," the ombudsman's office said it a statement.

"The potential offences include the murders of brothers John, Anthony and Brian Reavey at Whitecross, Co Armagh in 1976."

Last night the victims' brother Eugene Reavey said the development was "a major breakthrough for me and my family".

"When they told me they had received fresh evidence, and that they would be referring the matter for prosecution, I couldn’t believe it," he said.

"I promised my father that I would continue the fight for justice for John Martin, Brian and Anthony and today I believe we are a step closer to that."

Mr Reavey said his family has waited a long time for the development.

"It is regrettable that the police did not do their job sooner," he said.

"This is 46 years in the making.

"I told them 40 years ago who murdered my brothers and they never gave me any heed.

"I now look forward to seeing those responsible in court and held to account for their actions."

Solicitor Darragh Mackin, of Phoenix Law, said: "For over four and a half decades the Reavey family have pursued a dignified and admirable campaign for justice which at times seen certain corners vilifying Eugene Reavey.

"Today exonerates our client’s campaign for justice which has exposed the state sponsored Glenanne gang."

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