Sectarian killer convicted of threatening grieving daughter

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Glenanne Gang member Garfield Beattie has been found guilty of sending a threatening letter to the daughter of one of his murder victims, Aontú Deputy Leader Denise Mullen.

Beattie (left), who denied the charges in court, revealed in the course of his trial that every Catholic killed by the unionist paramilitary UVF in Armagh and Tyrone in the 70s was shot with British Army weapons. He also claimed he would never have taken part in the Glenanne gang’s campaign of slaughter if he had known the level of British state involvement.

The Glenanne gang, a death squad made up of loyalist paramilitaries, members of the British military in Ireland and RUC police, murdered over 120 innocents across the Six Counties over a period of years. Among the killings were the Miami Showband Massacre, the sectarian murders of the Reavey and O’Dowd families, the Dublin and Monaghan bombs, and the murder of Denis Mullen, a political activist with the SDLP.

Mr Mullen was shot dead at the front door of his home in September 1975. Aged just four, his daughter Denise (right) was soaked in her father’s blood, and heard the gunmen fire 13 shots at her mother, as she fled across fields to a neighbour’s house.

In October 2020, Beattie, who was in convicted of killing her father, sent a shocking death threat to Denise’s home, signed in the name of the East Tyrone UVF. Beattie had claimed no threat was intended by the letter, which warned her to end her civil action against him.

Beattie said in court that he sent the letter to remind Ms Mullen of her “frail health” and that signing the letter ‘East Tyrone UVF’ “was wrong”.

“I said if she didn’t stop [the civil action], it would have consequences... on her health, not on her life”.

“I was in Long Kesh for 16 years,” he added. We signed off Christmas cards UVF or FGAU (For God and Ulster). I’m on (prison release) licence. If I made a threat, I can be lifted. I do admit she may have taken it up wrong”.

Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín said Ms Mullen “stood up with incredible bravery to the UVF man who killed her father, and prevailed in court. This is an incredibly emotional day for Denise.”

Mr Tóibín expressed solidarity with the Mullen family and emphasised the continued battle that victims and survivors of the British Military and the Glenanne Gang face.

“Today is a crucial victory for victims and survivors, but still is only the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

“Denise and her family have shown immense bravery in their tireless work on behalf of the victims and survivors of the Glenanne Gang, and to ensure that truth and justice are achieved.”

He noted that to this day, there has been no proper investigation into who is responsible “for turning this gang loose upon innocent families. The victims and survivors deserve justice”.

“I have called upon three Taoisigh to meet with the victims and survivors – but to no avail. Michéal Martin promised to meet with survivors but no matter how much my office has followed up, it has not happened. These survivors and victims deserve the full support of the Irish government in their fight for truth and justice especially at a time when the British government seeks to introduce an amnesty for the perpetrators of these murders”.

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