Irish Republican News · December 17, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Fusco murder trial underway
Fusco murder trial underway

A man accused of murdering Belfast chip shop owner Alfredo Fusco has refused to give evidence in his own defence.

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Robert Clarke denied shooting 53-year-old Alfredo Fusco on February 3, 1973.

Clarke was arrested in August last year after a review of the case by the police Historical Inquiry Team identified his prints on a door through which the victim was shot.

He refused to take the stand at Belfast Crown Court on Friday after two convicted loyalist paramilitaries were called to give evidence.

Mr Fusco, an Italian Catholic who was married with four children, died in a hail of sub-machine gun fire as he worked in his cafe.

Upon hearing the shots a Protestant pensioner, Samuel Reynolds, died from a heart attack.

Hours later, two Catholic teenagers, Jim Sloan and Jim McCann, were killed in a drive-by gun attack as they left a pub nearby. The vehicle used in the attack was later seen parked outside an RUC/British army barracks.

Although both Jim Sloan and Jim McCann were in the IRA, they were not on active service.

Some time later the UDA, said that they were working hand-in-hand with the British army and that it was one of their specialities to carry out at an attack and provoke a republican response so that British soldiers could shoot active-service IRA Volunteers.

Former UDA leader Tommy Kirkham, now the deputy mayor of Newtownabbey, had been threatened with arrest for not coming to court this week. He and another known paramilitary, William Kernoghan, had both been in Fusco’s cafe at the time of the murder.

Kirkham became head of a new group which he calls ‘Beyond Conflict’ and is now associated with the breakaway South-East Antrim UDA.

When Kirkham was called to give evidence on Friday, he told the court he was “a reluctant witness as I do not believe in the process of the Historical Inquiry Team”.

The trial continues.

© 2010 Irish Republican News