Nothing compensates for murder of husband and father

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The family of Loughlin Maginn, murdered as a result of collusion in 1989, have demanded a proper inquest into the killing after their civil action against the British Crown Forces was settled in their favour.

The 28-year-old father-of-four was shot dead in his home in front of his wife and children, in Rathfriland, County Down.

A UDA paramilitary death squad carried out the murder and used Mr Maginn’s inclusion in Crown force files in an attempt to publicly justify it.

His family took a case against the British Ministry of Defence and the PSNI police (formerly the RUC).

At Belfast’s High Court the family were awarded what is understood to be a significant sum as well as full costs.

Mr Maginn’s daughter Grace said no matter what the amount was, it would never compensate them.

“No family should have to suffer this long for truth,” she said.

Two serving members of the British Army’s ‘Ulster Defence Regiment’ (UDR) were convicted of the murder.

After the killing, it emerged that loyalists had taken a video tape of a UDR intelligence briefing which contained references to Mr Maginn from inside a British army base.

They used it to target and kill him. The RUC had advance knowledge of the plan to take the intelligence, but made no attempt to stop it. In an attempt to justify the killing, the video tape was subsequently shown to journalists.

That led to several investigations into allegations of Crown Force collusion with loyalists, including a high profile inquiry by the former chief of London’s Metropolitan Police, John Stevens. Key findings of that report have never been published.

Lawyer for the Maginn family, Gavin Booth, welcomed the conclusion of the civil case.

“Our clients are delighted that today the PSNI and Ministry of Defence have finally settled their case, which has been ongoing since 1992,” Mr Booth said.

“Today should mark a significant milestone in the family’s journey for justice.

“While some of the truth is now known as to what happened to Loughlin Maginn, many questions remain unanswered and many of those responsible have been allowed to escape justice.”

The family said they would continue to campaign for a fresh inquest and expect a decision on that in the coming weeks.

Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard said the settlement was a clear indication of the failures in the police investigation.

“This has added additional trauma to a family that has already suffered so much,” he said.

“Today’s settlement proves once again the important of families being able to access the courts for truth and justice and the Tory government should immediately scrap its legacy Bill of Shame which is about pulling down the shutters on their Dirty War in Ireland.”

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