Nairac trial begins
Nairac trial begins

The trial has begun of a south Armagh man accused of killing an undercover British Army officer over three decades ago.

Robert Nairac was identified and executed by the IRA in May 1977.

59-year-old Kevin Crilly, who lived in the US for almost three decades, was arrested three years ago charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment.

His trial began on Thursday at Belfast Crown Court. Even if convicted, it is possible Mr Crilly will be immediately released under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Nairac, a Captain in the Grenadier Guards, apparently suffered delusions regarding his spying prowess. He said he had visited pubs in republican strongholds and sung Irish rebel songs and claimed to have acquired the nickname “Danny boy”.

Nevertheless, Nairac seems to have had close links with the Mid-Ulster UVF, including notorious killers Robin Jackson and Harris Boyle.

Robin Jackson was implicated in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of May 1974, and Harris Boyle was involved in the Miami Showband massacre, in which Nairac and Jackson were also alleged to have participated.

Nairac was reportedly often driven to pubs by now-Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, who was then a British Army officer.

Former SAS man Ken Connor said of him, “Before his death we had been very concerned at the lack of checks on his activities. No one seemed to know who his boss was, and he appeared to have been allowed to get out of control, deciding himself what tasks he would do.”

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