A campaign to secure a new investigation into a gun attack by a loyalist paramilitary death squad on a village pub has received a boost after a judge included it in a group to be advanced through the courts.
One man, 42-year-old Peter McCormack, was killed when a UVF gang burst in and sprayed gunfire at customers in a 1992 shooting at the Thierafurth Inn in Kilcoo, County Down. A number of others in the bar where a darts tournament was being held were also injured.
A man who survived the attack has recently been encouraged in his ongoing High Court battle to secure a fresh police investigation. John McEvoy had sought to judicially review the failure by the PSNI Chief George Hamilton to order an independent probe into the attack.
Mr McEvoy, who was working behind the bar, narrowly escaped being shot but developed severe post traumatic stress disorder.
The new documentary film on the Loughinisland killings which named suspects, ‘No Stone Unturned’, strengthened the case for an immediate and independent probe. It is now widely accepted the RUC allowed a UVF gang to operate freely in the County Down area but the key suspects have never been questioned.
Key to the case is the fact that firearms, balaclavas, ammunition, British Army maps and a military album containing photographs and details of suspected republicans were recovered from an Orange Hall in the village of Clough. One of those pictured in the album was Peter McCarthy, whose family own the Thierafurth Inn and who is believed to have been the intended target for an assassination.
An attempt to murder Mr McCarthy was planned for November 1992 but was abandoned. Two weeks later, it was his cousin, Peter McCormack, who died when a UVF death squad burst in and opened fire indiscriminately, killing Mr McCormack and injuring three other customers.
Proceedings in the case had been on hold as part of a backlog of so-called legacy cases before the courts. But according to Mr McEvoy’s lawyer, a judge has now mapped out steps to progress the case along with other related cases.
Gavin Booth of Phoenix Law said his client had expected an immediate police investigation after the ‘No Stone Unturned’ documentary exposed new details around the campaign of collusion killings in the area.
“For the first time the perpetrators of the attempt to murder Mr McEvoy and others in the pub were identified and we believe that an investigation should now immediately happen, especially following the identification of the suspects,” he said.
“The families today welcome the announcement of the court to deal with these outstanding legacy cases and to provide them with the timetable to have their cases heard.”