Northern Ireland

Police Ombudsman to probe allegations of police collusion in loyalist killings

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Media captionSam Marshall, a former republican prisoner, was killed in a gun attack in 1990

Northern Ireland's Police Ombudsman is to investigate allegations of collusion linked to loyalist murders during the Troubles, a Belfast court has heard.

The investigation will examine the shooting of prominent republican Sam Marshall in Lurgan, County Armagh, in 1990 and 20 other killings attributed to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

Details emerged at an initial inquest hearing into Mr Marshall's death.

There was no information on the other cases that will be part of the inquiry.

Mr Marshall, 31, was shot shortly after he left Lurgan Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Station on 7 March 1990.

The former prisoner was with his brother-in-law Tony McCaughey and republican Colin Duffy when they were targeted at Kilmaine Street.

Mr Marshall, Mr McCaughey and Mr Duffy were all known to the security forces at the time of the murder.

Witnessed

An investigation by the police's now defunct Historical Enquiries Team found no evidence of collusion with the suspected UVF gunmen, and said police and soldiers had no prior knowledge of the attack.

It said undercover soldiers were deployed near the scene while their commander monitored events from a remote location.

The armed troops were in six cars.

Two plain-clothed soldiers with camera equipment were in an observation post at the entrance to the police station as the three republicans, Mr Duffy, Mr Marshall and Mr McCaughey, arrived at the barracks as part of bail arrangements related to legal proceedings.

Two soldiers followed them on foot as they left and partially witnessed the shooting.

The killers' two guns were never recovered but were linked through ballistic tests to three other murders and an attempted murder.

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