Billy Wright and Robin Jackson were ‘state agents’ claims BBC documentary
Portadown loyalists Billy Wright and Robin Jackson were linked to more than 100 murders in the Mid Ulster area, according to BBC Spotlight.
The programme, aired on Tuesday night, probed several multiple murders in the area and spoke to accomplice Laurence Maguire.
Reporter Mandy McAuley spoke to Maguire, who in 1994 was convicted of directing terrorism: - a total 41 offences including five murders.
The programme claimed they spoke to security sources who said both Wright and Jackson were ‘state agents’.
One of Maguire’s victims was father of three Terence McConville (43) who was shot dead in Bann St in Portadown.
Maguire said Billy Wright, who himself was shot dead while in Maghaberry jail in 1997, set up the murder.
Maguire said: “He could have talked you into doing anything. He had the patter. He could talk. And it was always just about killing.”
According to Maguire, Wright masterminded the murders that Maguire committed. “All intelligence came from Wright,” said Maguire, who added that Wright got his intelligence from police officers who were working with him.
He claimed the police was giving Wright information on who to target and where to find them.
The Spotlight programme claims that senior security sources said Billy Wright was an agent working for both the police and the military.
The programme also highlighted that hundreds of police files dealing with republican and loyalist and security force killings in Mid Ulster were destroyed because of ‘asbestos contamination’. Among the files destroyed were interview notes relating to the murders attributed to Billy Wright’s gang.
Maguire said there were three main shooters in Billy Wright’s gang, Mark ‘Swinger’ Fulton, also from Portadown and himself. The third man has never been charged with any terrorist offence. Maguire believes the third man killed between ten and 15 people.
The gang were linked to the triple murders in a mobile shop in Craigavon in 1991. Two of the victims were teenagers, Eileen Duffy (19) and Katrina Rennie (16) as well as Brian Frizzell (29).
They were also linked to another triple murder at the Hyster factory in Craigavon that same year. Catholics Desmond Rogers and Fergus Magee as well as Protestant John Lavery from Lurgan were killed.
The programme also features Robin Jackson, who was leader of the Mid Ulster UVF from the mid 70s. It claims he was personally involved in the murders of up to 50 people and linked to more than 100 killings.
Former Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan described Jackson as a ‘prolific murderer’ and a ‘very ruthless man’ but that she never investigated him.
The programme uncovered an army log book detailing Robert Jackson’s first arrest in 1973. He had been identified by a murder victim’s wife but the charges against him were later dropped. The programme claims that it was at this point Jackson was recruited as a state agent.
Maguire claims in the programme that Robin Jackson was behind the initial plan to kill the Cairns brothers from Bleary a year before they were murdered.
Rory and Gerard Cairns’ mother Sheila said: “Nothing can ever bring me closure as they’ll never bring Gerard and Rory back.”