PSNI man arrested over Loughinisland massacre
PSNI man arrested over Loughinisland massacre

A member of the PSNI was suspended on Friday over allegations that he protected the UVF murder gang who carried out the Loughinisland massacre.

Willlam Patterson was arrested by investigators from the Police Ombudsman’s office at his County Down home on Thursday and interviewed about the June 1994 massacre on the Heights Bar which left six men dead and live others seriously wounded.

His arrest is understood to have been the first time that a serving member of the RUC/PSNI has been questioned over allegations of Crown force collusion in the atrocity.

Mr Patterson was interviewed about assisting the UVF, perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

In 2006 the families of those killed in Loughinisland asked the then police ombudsman, Baroness O’Loan to investigate what they believed were “serious flaws” in the original RUC investigation.

It had emerged that an RUC agent, codenamed ‘Mechanic’, had supplied the getaway car and that one of the murder weapons had been smuggled into Ireland from South Africa by British army agent Brian Nelson.

One of the families’ other concerns was the loss of potential forensic evidence when the RUC suddenly destroyed the getaway car used in the attack. The families also questioned the RUC’s inability to use forensic evidence found on one of the gang members’ balaclavas.

A spokesman for the ombudsman confirmed that Its investigators had arrested a PSNI man on Thursday.

“He was questioned by its investigators and released pend ing further inquiries, he said.

The families’ solicitor Niall Murphy welcomed the arrest but expressed concern about the development.

“The families are extremely concerned that this officer, who was serving In the same ponce station In Downpatrick as the Loughlnlsiand murder investigation, Is now being questioned over allegations that he protected the killers and deliberately perverted the course of justice,” he said.

“This is a major development which raises all sorts of serious questions about security-force collusion in the Loughinisland massacre.”

The massacre was one of the worst atrocities of the conflict, with bodies piled up inside the tiny bar in a scene of utter carnage.

The victims came from Loughinisland, Ballynahinch, Drumaness, and Downpatrick. They were Adrian Rogan, 39-year-old Eamon Byrne, who was married with four children, his brother-in-law Patsy O’Hare, who was 35 and a single man, 59-year-old Dan McCreanor, a single farmer, his uncle Barney Green, an 87-year-old retired pig farmer who was married, and 54-year-old Malcolm Jenkinson, a building contractor who was married with three children.

Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2010 Irish Republican News