Northern Ireland news

Patrick Campbell murder: Former policeman and military intelligence officers to give evidence

Margaret Campbell whose husband Pat is believed to have been murdered by the Glenanne Gang

A FORMER policeman and two ex-military intelligence officers are set to give evidence about the alleged role played by loyalism's most prolific sectarian killer in the murder of a Catholic factory worker nearly 50 years ago.

The trio are among witnesses being called by elderly widow Margaret Campbell in a legal action centred on the involvement of notorious UVF boss Robin `The Jackal' Jackson in her husband's shooting.

Patrick Campbell was gunned down at the family's home in Banbridge, Co Down in October 1973.

Jackson, a one-time Ulster Defence Regiment soldier and suspected Special Branch agent who died in 1998, was arrested for the killing but charges were later dropped.

He has been linked to more than 50 murders carried out by the so-called Glenanne Gang - a notorious loyalist unit based in the Mid Ulster area during the 1970s.

Mr Campbell, a trade unionist and father-of-three, is believed to have been Jackson's first victim.

The two men worked together at a shoe factory in Banbridge and reportedly had a disagreement over the stopping of machinery following the deaths of three British soldiers.

Mrs Campbell is suing the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Ministry of Defence over alleged security force collusion in her husband's murder.

Her legal team claim that Jackson was protected during his campaign of terror.

With the widow seeking damages for alleged police and military failings, including negligence and misfeasance in public office, the action has been listed for a High Court trial in November.

At a review hearing on Monday, counsel for Mrs Campbell, Jude Bunting KC, revealed that three former employees of the defendants are to give evidence as part of her case.

A letter which forms part of the proceedings confirmed they include former military intelligence officers Frank Holroyd and Colin Wallace.

An ex-RUC officer is also set to testify as a witness for the plaintiff.

Despite Mrs Campbell's health being described as fragile, her lawyers insist that she too wants the opportunity to provide personal evidence about what happened.

Mr Bunting added: "The plaintiff is keen to make progress, there are ongoing discussions about using the trial listing to advance this important matter. She is very unwell."

Adjourning the case, Mr Justice McAlinden acknowledged: "It's a delicate issue. I will let the parties get on with their discussions."

Northern Ireland news