Northern Ireland

Loyalist commander Winkie Rea dies

Winkie Rea faced murder charges
Winkie Rea faced murder charges Winkie Rea faced murder charges

A one-time loyalist paramilitary commander who was on trial for two Troubles related murders has died.

Winston Churchill Rea, better known as Winkie Rea, was a leading member of the UVF-linked Red Hand Commando.

Originally from Belfast's Shankill Road, he latterly lived in Groomsport in north Down.

He was being prosecuted on the basis of interviews he gave to the Boston College's Troubles oral history project.

Read more: Trial of Winston `Winkie' Rea hears ordinary innocent Catholics were considered legitimate targets

Billy Wright was state agent, Winkie Rea trial told

Two of the charges he faced were for the murders of Catholic men John Devine and John O'Hara more than 30 years ago.

Rea died a week after his wife Liz, the daughter of late UVF commander Gusty Spence, who was buried on Thursday.

His trial was last adjourned in 2021 having been disrupted several times, including due to his ill health.

There were recent efforts to have the trial re-listed in order that it could conclude.

Winkie Rea was married to Gusty Spence's daughter Liz
Winkie Rea was married to Gusty Spence's daughter Liz Winkie Rea was married to Gusty Spence's daughter Liz