Security force members 'may have colluded in Derry killing'

HET

The families of two Londonderry men murdered by the UDA in 1976 have said questions remain to be answered.

The Historical Enquiries Team looked into the murders of John Toland and Jim Loughrey.

It found members of the security forces may have colluded in the killing of Mr Toland.

Sons of both men have said they want to know why the suspected commander of the UDA in Derry at the time was never questioned about the murders.

The men, who were both Catholic, were murdered eight days apart.

"It all leads back to the UDA commander in Derry at the time," Mr Loughrey's son John said.

"We have questions about who this person was working for and where is that person - he mysteriously disappeared when statements were made about these murders in 1986.

"There were 30 arrests of loyalists in Derry at this time yet the man who was commander of the UDA in Derry at the time was never arrested or questioned about these murders."

Mr Toland's son Richard added: "We're not looking for prosecutions, we're looking for closure, because it's been a horrendous time.

"Today has been really, really tough.

"My vivid memory of the weeks after my father's death is lying in bed at night listening to my mother sobbing."

Collusion

The HET has found there was collusion in the murder of John Toland, 35, who was a father of seven from Windsor Terrace.

Serving UDR man, David Hamilton, had originally been charged with the murder, and murdering another man, but he was acquitted at his trial in 1987 when the judge ruled that confessions it is claimed he made were inadmissible in court.

He admitted supplying the gun used in John Toland's murder and was sentenced to five years in jail. He served half that time in prison.

The HET said that former RUC man, William Bredin, was convicted of another loyalist murder around the same time.

He admitted in interviews that he "knew about the planning for John's murder, but there was no evidence that he was involved in it".

Leonard Campbell was sentenced to life after he admitted carrying out the murder of John Toland and another man - but he was released after seven years in prison.

The HET said it was "likely" that there was collusion between individual members of the security forces and those responsible for Toland's murder.

It said however that, in the absence of any further information, it was not possible to be any more specific about the nature and extent of the collusion.

The Historical Enquiries Team also looked into the murder of Jim Loughrey, 35, who was shot at his home in Greysteel by the UDA/UFF. He died 11 days later.

In a coded statement at the time, the UDA said his killing had been in revenge for the murder of UDR man Ronald Bond, who died weeks earlier. They claimed Mr Loughrey was a member of the IRSP, the political wing of the INLA. This is denied by his family.

His family have always maintained that the security forces colluded with his killers too.

The HET said: "While the possibility of collusion cannot be discounted, the HET has found no evidence that any member of the security forces was involved in any way in the preparation, planning or murder of the murder of Jim."

There have never been any convictions in this case.

Both families will hold a news conference on Friday.

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