A report into the 1992 murders of five Catholics in a south Belfast bookmakers has revealed one of the guns used by the UDA had been handed back to the gang by the RUC (now PSNI) police.
Two loyalist gunmen attacked Sean Graham’s bookmakers on Belfast’s Ormeau Road in broad daylight, killing five men, including a 15-year-old teenager.
An investigation by a Historical Enquiries Team (HET) found that a Browning pistol used in the massacre nine years ago had been returned to the UDA death squads by the RUC.
The RUC claimed the return of the UDA gun was part of a strategy to combat the unionist paramilitary organisation and denied any collusion was involved.
The UDA went on to use the weapon in a number of murders, including the Ormeau Road massacre.
“We’re talking about five innocent men -- a 15-year-old boy up to a 66-year-old man -- who were in (Sean Graham’s bookmakers) doing a bet as normal on a Wednesday afternoon and were gunned down and one of the weapons used was a Browning pistol that the RUC were involved in handing over to a loyalist death squad,” said Mark Sykes, who was injured in the attack.
Mr Sykes said that he believed there was collusion between the RUC and the UDA.
His 18-year-old brother, Peter Magee, was murdered by the weapon. “The families want the truth. The truth costs nothing. Cover-ups cost millions,” Mr Sykes added.
“If the money spent on preventing the truth from going out was used in actually telling the truth, we’d be in a healthier place.”
No-one was convicted of the Ormeau Road killings. The HET also says the second gun used in the murders - a rifle - was destroyed in 1994.