UDR soldiers questioned over murder
UDR soldiers questioned over murder

Former British soldiers were among four men questioned by police in the North about the murder of a nationalist councillor more than 30 years ago.

The four were arrested in connection with the 1974 murder of Catholic man Patsy Kelly, which is widely believed to have been carried out by members of the British Crown forces.

Mr Kelly’s relatives have been treating the arrests with scepticism after three decades of cover-up. It is believed the RUC police originally took part in a conspiracy to destroy evidence that would have linked members of the British Army’s ‘Ulster Defence Regiment’ to the scene.

Mr Kelly went missing on the way home from work in Trillick on the night of July 24, 1974. His body was found three weeks later in a lake ten miles away by fishermen. He had been shot four times. His killers had used nylon rope to tie weights to his body before dumping it in a river.

His wife Teresa was pregnant with their fifth child at the time.

In 1999, former UDR soldier David Jordan broke down in a bar and told people present that he had been present the night that his UDR colleagues murdered Mr Kelly. Mr Jordan named the men involved.

Mr Jordan died in 2001 but there have been calls for his body to be exhumed for postmortem because of the suspicious circumstances in which he died.

There were serious shortcomings in the original RUC investigation into Mr Kelly’s killing. The RUC was accused of colluding with the UDR to protect Mr Kelly’s murderers.

Pat Fahy, the Kelly family’s solicitor, said fingerprints at the murder scene had never been checked. Nothing was done to investigate footprints matching those of army-issue boots, he said.

In 1993, following new leads, the police reopened the investigation but their inquiries led nowhere. In 2002, police again indicated they were going to reopen the case.

Teresa Kelly went to the High Court to ask that an independent police force be brought in to conduct the investigation. The court ruled against her.

Patsy Kelly’s son, Fearghal, said: “The PSNI have been dishonest to us from the very start so, you see, we don’t hold much hope that they will ever get a result.

“We are not co-operating with this investigation and we have no faith in it.

“We might be proven wrong but I don’t think so. We can only live in hope, I suppose.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News