The family of a Catholic man killed by loyalists in collusion with state forces has called for the release of details of a recently found arms cache which they believe could finally secure a conviction for his murder.
Tommy Casey was shot dead by the unionist paramilitary UVF at the home of a friend near Cookstown in October 1990. It is believed the UVF acted in concert with members of the RUC police and the British Army’s Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) in the murder.
It was recently revealed that four UDR members were questioned about the attack, in which Mr Casey’s wife Cathleen was also injured. One of the guns used to kill Mr Casey, a .455 revolver, has never been found.
The PSNI police revealed last week that “firearms including a handgun” and ammunition were recovered in a mainly unionist area at Tullyveagh Road, near Cookstown. The PSNI has refused to confirm how many guns or what type of weapons have been recovered.
Mr Casey’s son Conor said he is concerned about the lack of information.
“I have instructed my solicitor to formally enquire as to the make, model and serial of the weapons found and to seek confirmation as to the ballistics histories of these weapons,” he said.
His lawyer Niall Murphy said he will be demanding more information about the find.
“This weapons find, allied with other fresh information could provide optimism for he prospect of successful prosecutions.”
The PSNI have faced accusations of covering up details of suspected loyalist arms finds in recent months.
In contrast, last year the PSNI released full details and photographs of weapons, including mortars and claymore mines, recovered from a republican arms dump at Capanagh Forest near Larne days after they were recovered.
Two days before the murder of Mr Casey, a woman who lived in the house was awoken in the early hours of the morning by a noise on her roof. On looking outside she saw two figures climbing off a low level roof at the back of the property.
Mr Casey’s family believe these men may have been British soldiers who were carrying out surveillance on the house, which was frequented by republicans.
They believe there was collusion in the case and suspect that their father may have been murdered by members of the UDR.
The fact that the killers did not bring a getaway car but instead used the victim’s own vehicle to escape has further fuelled suspicion of Crown force involvement. It is unusual for people involved in loyalist activity not to provide their own means of escape.
“Missing forensics, the possibility of surveillance and the killers having the confidence to turn up to commit murder in a remote area without a getaway vehicle, all points to a familiar impunity afforded in the Mid Ulster area at this time,” Mr Murphy said.
“UDR men were suspected and were arrested for this murder and there is a renewed confidence that fresh information will emerge that will now result in prosecutions.”