Notorious LVF paramilitary released
A unionist paramilitary killer, jailed for shooting dead a Catholic teenager as she slept, has been freed early.
Trevor McKeown of the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) shot 18-year-old Bernadette Martin as she slept in her Protestant boyfriend’s family home in the village of Aghalee at the height of the Drumcree march dispute.
McKeown was sentenced to life in prison for the July 1997 murder. The sectarian killer walked free from Maghaberry Prison this week after being released on licence by the Sentence Review Commission on the grounds it was “satisfied that, if released immediately, you would not be a danger to the public”.
McKeown’s solicitor said his client still refused to accept his conviction.
McKeown crept into the family home of Ms Martin’s boyfriend, Gordon Green, on July 15 1997 through the back door of the property. The door had been left unlocked for family members coming home late.
He shot the teenager in the head as she lay sleeping in a bedroom. During her killer’s trial her boyfriend told the court he had cradled her as they waited for an ambulance.
Delivering a guilty verdict the judge told McKeown he had used the knowledge gained “through the friendship and hospitality of the Green family” to carry out the killing.
The trial heard that the young couple had stayed overnight at McKeown’s Aghalee home two weeks before the murder. It also emerged that the murder weapon had been used in the sectarian killing the previous summer of Catholic father-of-two Michael McGoldrick.
McKeown’s brother, Clifford McKeown, was jailed for a minimum of 24 years for murdering the taxi driver. That killing was said to have been a “birthday present” for notorious LVF leader ‘King Rat’ Billy Wright, and marked the start of a series of sickening sectarian killings by that organisation.
During a 2003 interview with a journalist, Trevor McKeown revealed that RUC detectives had also urged him to kill nationalist human rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson. She was assassinated in 1999 in an attack by the Red Hand Defenders, a cover name used by the LVF and the UDA.