The anniversary of the murder of a County Antrim man as he slept beside his wife and baby daughter has brought fresh calls for an inquest into the the circumstances of the killing and the role of the Crown Forces in the attack.
On 4 April 1989, 33 years ago this week, Gerard Casey was brutally murdered at his home in Rasharkin. He had been targeted by then RUC police six months earlier who bluntly told him at its Castlereagh Interrogation Centre that he would be murdered.
The RUC confiscated Gerard’s legally held weapon and drew up detailed plans of his home. The assault rifle used to kill Gerard was later used in 1993 to murder eight civilians in the Greysteel massacre.
In January 2022 the Police Ombudsman published a report into a series of murders, including that of Gerard Casey. The Ombudsman found that loyalist paramilitaries were in possession of Gerard Casey’s personal details contained in ‘intelligence caches’ recovered after his murder.
It was also revealed that a serving member of the British Army’s locally recruited UDR (Ulster Defence Regiment) who was linked to loyalist death squads, had attended meetings with the RUC at which sensitive intelligence, including intelligence relating to Gerard Casey, was discussed.
This individual was subsequently dismissed from the UDR but was never questioned under caution as a suspect for Gerard Casey’s murder. Mr Casey’s son has now called for the role of the UDR in his killing to be investigated.
“It is essential that in addition to the conduct of the RUC that there is a full examination of the role of the UDR in the targeting of my father,” he said.
“The ombudsman has found that the person suspected of passing on my father’s details was dismissed from that regiment yet neither the UDR or RUC Special Branch disseminated the information any further.
“It is scandalous that the UDA remained a lawful organisation at the time of my father’s murder.”
His lawyer Fearghal Shiels, of Madden and Finucane Solicitors, said an inquest into Mr Casey’s murder would shed more light on the case.
“The coroner will have full powers to compel officers who did not cooperate with the ombudsman to attend to give evidence where there shall be full public examination of their conduct and scrutiny of documents by their own lawyers,” he said.
“It is the Casey family’s belief that such a public transparent hearing shall reveal the true extent of the levels of collusion in Gerard’s murder.”
The Attorney General ordered a new inquest into Gerard’s death in July 2010 after it was established that the RUC unlawfully withheld important documents from the Coroner at the original inquest.
However, last month the presiding Coroner decided not to list Gerard Casey’s inquest during Year 3 of the 5 year plan to deal with outstanding legacy inquests.
“Thirty-three years on, Gerard’s family await a public examination into the circumstances of his murder with incredible patience and dignity,” Mr Shiels said.