127479271 Serial Slaughter Murders in Northern Ireland

September 13, 2017 | Author: waynefishing | Category: Provisional Irish Republican Army, Murder, Serial Killer, Forensic Science, Northern Ireland
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An Analysis of IRA Murders

in North Armagh 1986-1999

SERIAT [email protected] An Analysis of IRA Murders in North Armagh 1986-1999

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Terrorist Victims Human Rights Committee, Lurgan 1999

Pubtished in 1999 by


Terrorist Victims Human Rights Committee Brownlow House, Windsor Avenue, Lurgan, Co. Armagh, Norlhern Ireland BT67 9BI



All rights reserved.

From 1986, when the North Armagh Brigade of the PIRA brutally kidnapped and murdered David McVeigh from Lurgan, a reign of psychopathic terror has remained in Upper Bann until the present time.

Photographs courtesy of Pacemaker Press, Photopress anal related families

McVeigh, who was a leading local Provisional with two brothers serving long terms of imprisonment for terrorist offences, was taken, interrogated, beaten, forced to confess to being an informer and then mercilessly shot. His body was then callously dumped by the roadside in South Armagh near Flagstaff Hill between Newry and Dundalk.

This booklet is dedicated generally to sll those British citkens and innocent victims who have lost their lives in the terrorist conflict over the past thirty years.

In particular it is a tribute to the long-suffering families of those murdered or maimed in Upper Bann by Irish Nationalist/IRA Tetorists, who still await true peace and justice.

(Front cover pic.) The removal of the bodies of Constables Graham and Johnston from Church Walk, Lurgan

Having obviously secured their internal security by this brutal killing, the IRA then went about putting together a gang of potential murderers in the Lurgan area.


1999, this gang of psychopathic serial murderers remains atlarge

and following at least another sixteen killings over an eleven-year period, not one member of this perverse group has been successfully convicted.

Their toll of human misery and their efl'ect on the greater community cannot be underestimated. Their rule of terror and fear has reached over a wide area and their legacy has left nothing but sorrow, pain, hurt and despair in its wake.

Their list of brutal murders provoked retaliation from Loyalist paramilitaries, leading to a series of revenge killings, which has ruined community relations and left suspicion and fear in abundance.

Last Seventeen Unsolved Murders in Upper Bann by the IRA 1986 to 1999 10/9/86 McVEIGH, David IRA Beaten and Shot Takenfrom home in Lurgan. Body found in Killeen, Co. Armagh. Alleged informer

I3/T2/88 CORRY,



18/T0/89 METCALF, Roy Protestant Shor Murdered in his home at Maralin outside Lurgan.


Protestant Booby Trap Murdered by a booby trap car bomb which exploded outside his home in Lurgan.

ztI/96 LYONS, Ian

Catholic Murdered outside home in Lurgan.



Murdered at work in Portadown.

23/9/90 McCULLOUGH, Colin

13/5/94 ANTHONY, Fred



GRAHAM, John Shot JOHNSTON, David RUC Shot The above constables were murdered together on duty in ChurchWalk - off Church Place, Lurgan.

Kevin Catholic Beaten and Shot Takenfrom home in Lurgan. Body found in Aghalee outside Lurgan.

17/2/98 CONWAX


Murdered while in his car with girlfriend at Oxford Island outside Lurgan.



RUC Shot DOWEY, Keith Protestant Shot KENDALL, Norman Protestant Shot TAYLOR, Tom RUC Shot The four friends and wildfowlers were murdered together at Castor Bay outside Lurgan.

20/12/90 WETHERS,




Murdered coming home from work, Lurgan/Waringstown Road.

I9lll/92 WARNOCK, Ian



Murdered leaving work in Portadown.

18/5/93 HEADLEX


Catholic Shot Found shot in car at Bleary, outside Lurgan.

24/6/93 LYNESS, John M urde

re d c omin g

UDR home fro m w o rk

Shot o

ut s ide hi s hou s e in

Lur g an. The location of the I 6 murders caried out by the same IRA serial killer gang from i 988 to 1999


What started by this gang as several botched murder attempts in the Lurgan area finally led, in December 1988, to the cold-blooded murder of iProtestant in Poftadown at his place of work' The gang, consisting of a driver and two gunmen, shot John corry in his garage in the Edenderry district of Portadown.

This first sectarian killing by this gang was to set a pattern for these serial killers to repeat many times over the next eleven years.

With the exception of 1991 and 1995, when circumstances were not

suitable, these same assassins have murdered at least once every year since 1988. In 1990 alone they murdered at least six people. Their despicable, calculated murders and vicious self-control, seemingly allowed ease of access to kill with impunity year after year. Now as we prepare to enter a new millennium, no end to their blood letting appeals in sight, despite their atrocities beginning in the late 1980s' The decentpeople of UpperBann currently waitwith fgqq!trepidation to see who the next victlm of these psychopathic serial killers will be'

A detailed study of the last sixteen killings shows different vicious patterns that have emerged about this gang of cold-blooded murderers'

Five of the victims were shot at close range as they sat in their car. Ten of the victims were also shot at very close range with a mixture of rifles, handguns and a shotgun.

This psychopathic trend to get close to the victim reputedly increases the thriil the perpetrator his to have when committing vile acts of slaughter. On bne occasion an under-car booby trap bomb was used to kill the innocent victim. Another UDR part-time soldier was also maimed by the same method. In October 1989, three gunmen entered the isolated bungalow of Lurgan Protestant businessmatt Mt Roy Metcalf and shot him in front of his wife and young daughter as he relaxed watching TV. They had now plummeted to the depths of inhumanity and pure evil'

Roy Metcalf, murdered in his home, I 8 October, 1989

After this horrendous sectarian murder, committed in the victim's home in front of his family, there was no level of satanic brutality that this gang would not stoop to.

By 1990 this IRA gang was experienced as akilling machine. They had a pure sectarian hatred for all things Protestant and British. It was September of that year that the pattern of serial killing was beginning to emerge. Within eight weeks, six more local Protestant men lay dead, all shot by this same gang. The first to die that winter, was a young part-time UDR soldier who was sitting in his car with his girlfriend at Oxford Island, a nature reserve just north of Lurgan beside Lough Neagh. Colin McCullough was brutally shot and died at the scene. His distraught girlfriend was left to flee in the darkness to seek help in this very isolated, lonely place.

It is worth pointing out that Loyalist murdering weeks.


gunmen retaliated in kind by

young Nationalist in the same area in similar fashion within

As the cycle of violence and tension continued, a massacre that was to stun the entire community for its enormity, tookplace on 10 November 1990. On this occasion the murderers lay in wait, with death in their hearts, to ambush and kill a party of Protestant wildfowlers who normally used the area near Castor Bay for their recreation.

The first to arrive and the first to die was Mr Tom Taylor, a part-time reserve policeman. The other three victims were David Murphy, a policeman, and his friends Keith Dowey and Norman Kendall.

All four men were Protestants, local and perceived to be British,


therefore legitimate targets for the warped sectarian murderers.

This massacre, supposedly in the cause of Nationalist Ireland, led to widespread revulsion. The actual fact that four Protestant friends had been gunned down together led to total shock and disbelief, not only in

Colin McCullough, murderetl in his car at Oxford Island, Lurgan' 23 Septembcr I 990

Northern Ireland but also across the whole of the United Kingdom and internationally. Roman Catholic neighbours openly expressed their shame and contacted some of the families, naming both those who planned and those who carried out the murders.

It was a totally surreal time for both communities

as the pro-British

Unionist community was in shock and trauma. Meanwhile the Nationalist community awaited retaliation from the Loyalist paramilitaries. The families of the four wildfowlers, as they became known, were left to grieve and suffer in silence in the hope that someone would finally be brought to justice. What followed though, was confirmation that the satisfaction that these psychopathic killers required had not been met by the mass murder of the four Protestant friends.

In the week before Christmas, a three-man killer gang consisting of a driver and two gunmen struck again. This time the victim was Wilfred Wethers, a policeman, coming home from completing his duty at Lurgan RUC station. The getaway car was stationed on the verge of the main Lurgan Waringstown Road. Inside it sat an unmasked driver. Two gunmen ambushed Constable Wethers at close range as he drove down the short lane leading to his home. Mr Wethers died in his car at the scene.

By now the killers had murdered at least eight people in just over two years. Alarm bells should have been ringing in high government circles that this level of violence was spiralling out of control. The silence was deafening!

A lull occurred in the local murders

as intensive security focused on the area, but incredibly not one single person had been charged with any of the killings.

1 990 Keith Dowey, one of the four wildfowlers who were murdered at Castol Bay, Lurgan, 10 November


In 1990, the North Armagh Brigade of the IRA was having internal problems and several informers were put out of the area during this period. Exile was their punishment. It would appear there was one law for friends and relatives of this murder gang and another more brutal law for informers outside their circle. They ended up dead, like David McVeigh in 1986.

While murders continued in adjoining areas of East Tyrone and South Armagh, locally in the Craigavon area the lull continued. This was due to doubt and fear existing in the minds of the local Provisionals who suspected that the Security Forces had recruited several informers. For a long period of time now the North Armagh Brigade, especially in the greater Lurgan area, had been losing weapons in planned Security Force searches. Questions were beginning to be asked. In fact the NorthArrnagh Brigade in Lurgan lost more weapons in three years around this time, than the SouthArmagh Brigade IRA would lose in almost twenty years of very active terrorism.

By November l992the gang had got the confidence of their superiors to strike again. This resulted in the horrific shooting of part-time UDR man Ian Warnock.

MrWarnock had his child with him as he called to collect his wife from work at Seagoe Industrial Estate, which is on the east side of Portadown. He was shot in his car in front of his young child. Before he died, Mr Warnock returned fire and wounded one of the gunmen. Despite this, once again, no one was ever charged with the murder.

Like their first murder of John Corry in December 1988, the gang took a similar route back to the neighbouring town of Lurgan. With this recent successful killing under their belt, the murderous confidence of the serial killers was on a high. Tom Tay)or, one ofthe four wildfowlers who were murdered at Castor Bay, Lurgan, l0 November 1990


within six months another body was found. This time the victim was Dennis Headley who was found shot in his car in Bleary, south of Lurgan. One can only presume his death was the result of a personal dispute. He became the first of three Roman Catholic victims of the gang. Neither Mr. Headiey's murder nor those of his two co-religionists, were claimed by the Provisional IRA. Only the Protestant victims were deemed worthy of acknowledgement by the gang and their PIRA leaders.

It was obvious by now that a dangerous psychopathic trend was well

established. The gang of serial murderers was now extremely active in

the area.

Within weeks the pack of killers struck again. This time their boldness beggared belief. It happened in Lurgan, and their victim was a defenceless, retired UDR man who worked at the local swimming pool. An army landrover near the scene of the Castor Bay murders

Johnny Lyness was well known in the town and was a very friendly pleasant man who had served his community for many years.

While walking home from work he was callously shot down by one of two unmasked gunmen. They were dressed in cycling gear and had been loitering outside his home. To make their escape, the two assailants cycled away from the scene through the local park. The fact that both were unmasked is, in terrorist terms very unusual, leaving both open to identification by anyone who saw them. They must have had complete confidence in their ability to escape from the scene. Remember they had stationed themselves at the scene of this murder for a considerable length of time. It was broad daylight, this was a unionist area of Lurgan, their faces were uncovered. Was this a flash of extreme recklessness or was there a more sinister explanation? Questions were now being asked by the British-Unionist population of Lurgan and further afield, about why murdet after murder was going on unchecked.


The scene at Castor Bay where the multiple murders took place


Following the appearance of several witnesses, a man was charged with the above murder. After a long period on remand, the case finally came to trial and the man was convicted. Undaunted this group of dedicated killers had struck again, this time by a different method. Fred Anthony, a local Protestant, was driving to work early on 13 May l994.Mr Anthony's family were with him in the car. An under-car bomb exploded killing FredAnthony and injuring his family. Neighbours gazed in horror at the mangled remains of the car containing the victim and his young family. An elderly woman nearby was blown off her feet by the explosion. Miraculously, the wounded child survived but only by the grace of God was the death toll not higher.

t ,l

By now the tragic death toll was rising but within days of the conviction of a man for the Johnny Lyness murder, there was abizanrle twist to the case. One of the two key witnesses whose evidence had helped secure the conviction was himself arrested and charged with conspiracy relating to a terrorist charge. Supposedly after trying for many years to trap the members of the killer gang, the Security Services themselves discredited akey witness within days.

Cynical observers had long since predicted the release of any suspect connected with all these murders on the suspicion that somewhere a hidden hand was at play. As anticipated after a very high profile campaign to secure the release of the convicted person, the appeal was successful and the suspected murderer walked free.

After eight years, twelve people had been brutally murdered within a radius of approximately eight miles and incredibly no one had been successfully convicted. This must have served as a great incentive for these practised murderers to continue with their killing spree. After so many years it was unlikely that they would ever be caught.


I Wilfred Weihers, murdered coming home from work, Warin€lstown Road, Lurgan, 20 December 1990



It is little wonder that the victims' families were beginning to doubt the credibility of the continuing investigations into these atrocities. The triumphant homecoming to Lurgan of the alleged suspect brought total despiir to the British-Unionist population and led to rapturous joy and elation within the Nationalist Roman Catholic population.

By now the cease-fires by both Loyalist and Republican paramilitaries t"-"r" ropposedly in place and everyone should have been looking to a better furure. SaOty no atmosphere of peace or cease-fire ever existed in Upper Bann.

Within a short space of time Moira, Portadown and Banbridge were all blown up by Republicans and the murders by this same group were to continue.

Using the cover name of DAAD, Direct Action Against Drugs, the Proviiional lRA had killed several people across Northern Ireland, when murder returned to Lurgan. The New Year of 1996 had just started and on 2 January,Ian Lyons, a

local Roman Catholic, was shot outside his home near the Old Portadown Road. For the first time, a shotgun was used as the murder weapon.

and confirmed what many cynics had been saying, that the intentions of the Provisionals were both sinister and strategic.

It made a mockery of the cease-fire

Again the murder of a fellow Roman Catholic for personal reasons sh-ows how the killers' blood lust had taken hold again. With another close quarter assassination in front of the victim's family, the depths of man'slnhumanity to his fellow man had been trawled again' What had this senseless murder got to do with uniting Ireland or furthering the cause of Irish Nationalism? It portrays vividly how depraved the activities of the gang had become. Ian Warnock, murdered leaving work in Portadown, 19 November 1992



With at least thirteen local murders now behind them, their violent behaviour and paranoid state of mind was sheltering behind the cover of Irish patriotism.

By the start of 1997, the cause of Irish Nationalism had to be far from the thoughts of this band of murderers. They were now experienced, dedicated assassins who, apparently at will, could kill if and when they pleased.

People who were suspicious about the murderous activities had kept their thoughts suppressed for many years. By June of 1991 the next atrocity was to raise even more questions than answers. On 16 June two community policemen were returning to the RUC station on foot, in Church Walk, only a matter of yards from the gates. Both officers were experienced, and yet from nowhere, in broad daylight, two gunmen suddenly appeared and in cold blood, shot both officers from behind. The two officers, John Graham and David Johnston, were well known and liked by many in the community. The huge crowd who gathered at the scene of the double murders to pay tribute showed the revulsion felt towards their assassins.

Yet again another murderous attack in Lurgan by the same band of psychopaths had shocked Norther:n Ireland and the civilised world. In particular the Washington Administration, which had placed so much faith in the IRA cease-fire, felt betrayed. Year after year, murder after murder, families were left to grieve with no end to the slaughter in sight.

Within days a suspect had been amested and subsequently charged. It happened to be the same man who had been charged with the Johnny Lyness murder and again eyebrows were being raised about what was going on. This time there was one key witness to the killing, but after short time all charges were dropped.


relatively John Lyness, murdered outside his home after work in Lurgan,




June 1993

Fred Anthony,

observers This sequence of events was entirely predictable and seasoned released, be felt it was only a matter of time before any suspect would regardless ofhow rigorous the legal system appeared to be'

murdered by a booby trap car bomb on his way to work in Lurgan, l3 May 1994

The shock at the brutal double murders was both genuine and *id"rp."ud. It again reminded people of the brutal castor Bay murders killers. n"urfy r.u"r, y"uir before by theiame North Armagh IRA band of

Yet since December 1988, this gang had been consistently butchering people with a ruthlessness that normal people could not comprehend. ihe vicious cycle of violence was still not over'

ByFebruarylgg8,theorgyofmurderchangedinitsnatureandinits viciousness.

from The victim this time was a Roman Catholic man, Kevin Conway, killing brutal his for reason The a local housing estate in North Lurgan. wourd appear" to have been personal and linked to protection and the financiafrackets. True to form, the Provisional lRA did not claim killing, as it could not be justified under any circumstances.

The remains of the wrecked

he This time the victim was taken from his home, leaving the children Conway Mr had been looking after helpless and vulnerable. Sadly for was there was no return as he was bound, beaten and shot. His body Fein/IRA Sinn local The house' found at nearby Aghalee in a derelict immediately taia tire blame for the killing on Loyalist Paramilitaries' Their statement was designed to divert attention away from the Provisional serial killers who had struck agan'

local The murder of Mr conway brought to seventeen the number of to murderers of tiffing, committed by one of the most dedicated bands over the lastihirty years of the Northern Ireland conflict.


When one looks at notorious serial killer gangs both locally, nationally out of and internationally, the pack of ctazed psychopaths operating the Lurgan area, compares with the worst'




at the scene

elevenAmazingly, this gang has been committing theirkillings overan profile' y"u, p"rioO'and i'as Jomehow gone unnoticed in terms of media and the forces security local the tn"rf is also no explanation why both the over existence local politicians have not been highlighting their past decade.

people If-over ten years, a gang of serial killers had murdered seventeen been have would in Swansea, Edinbur:gh or London' the outcry acceptable deafening. yet somehoi" th"r" murders appear to have been because ihey took place in Norlhern Ireland' to There is a responsibility on the Prime Minister and government less' no preserve life and the families of those murdered expect

of These murderers should be caught, tried and convicted regardless conviction following any political process. Even if 11'"y *" released nonau! to the "Belfast Deal" of April 1998, several of the murders are poiiri.ur and should be viewed as such. A conviction and release on iir"n"" would be better than no conviction at all'

It would also open up the possibility of examining the psychopathic

threat to mental state of ihe gang, anb confirm that they are an ongoing the communitY. The most sacred right of all is the right to


and in all these cases that

.igt t *u, brutally lxtinguished. Thls was a group of murderers using for their evil th? guise of Irish patrioiism as their excuse and as cover activities. parlicipated It is believed locally that up to five gunmen in total may have to two in the different kiilings. iher" killers are in turn helped by up shedding by their.souls against io""nmore peopte rino have sinned eleven innocentblooO una participating in a catalogue of evil terror over years.

Now, in order to prevent another eleven years of horrof, this booklet Security has been produced so that the British Government and the Forces must realise that the current situation is not acceptable'


lan Lyons, murdered outsidc home in Lurgan, 2 January




is ever These people must be brought to justice if any sort of normality gang' this to retuin to ttre families whose loved ones wefe murdered by

cannot It is generally believed that the perpetrators have a blood lust that coupled abuse and be sitisfied and their degenerate li^f'estyle of violence with media accusatio"ns of sexual impropriety leaves the whole community in fear. moved Despite the allegations that several members of this gang had action firm no into gangsterisri and been involved in sexual offences, bt ,ft Ift.A leadership was taken against these people' who in other IRA circles would have been executed without favour' have Former heads of the RUC and successive senior police officers their by failed the victims' families in particular and society in general inability to apprehend, for all these years, this particular set of murderers'

become a The serial slaughter by IRA assassins from Lurgan needs to instruction foi all branches of the Security Forces -untl" p.iotlty "ur" ior ttreir removal from society must come from the Prime Minister d;*"tly without delay. No longer can this disgraceful state of affairs be allowed to continue' protect his The Prime Minister, MrTony Blair, has a God given duty to terror. of nightmare this citizens and must act alonce to end resolve Whatever resources are needed must be provided in order to to an these cases. This history of murderous slaughter must be brought end immediatelY.

The murdcr sccne in Church Walk, Lurgan, following the shooling of Constables John Graham and David iohnston. 16 June 1997



It is felt that the following requirements are vital to successfully conclude all these cases:


At least fifteen police officers from the mainland to bring fresh


A top DNA forensic scientist with detailed knowledge of all modern testing techniques to update all forensic evidence that currently exists. (The families believe that a top-class specialist in this field will lead to the breakthrough required to solve these cases.)


The involvement of a top criminal psychologist to analyse the pattern of murder over the eleven years.

impetus and ideas to bear on the cases. These should include officers with previous experience of serial killers and similar gangs.

Those that have been brutally murdered and their families deserve no less than the above in order to bring peace of mind. So many questions need to be asked about the gross neglect those in

authority have demonstrated in the handling of these murderous activities over the years.

When one hears of human rights, one can only recall what one widow said regarding this Irish Nationalist death squad:

"What happened to me was neither human nor was it right," How fashionable it is, unfortunately, for leading professional people, writers, politicians and so-called human rights activists to become the champions of cold-blooded, ruthless murderers. Yet those who have suffered most of all, the families of those murdered, sentenced to a life of suffering, the maimed - crippled forever - somehow their pain and suffering are of minimal importance.

Family photogrrph ol'John Graham while on holiday in Scotland



Family photograph of L)avid Johnston

This pamphlet is simply a catalogue of pain and sorrow. It is designed to trigtrtlg^ht these murders and make those in authority pause and reflect on a tragic securitY failure.

It is a horrific reminder of the satanic evil, which proudly

struts our

towns and countrY roads.

It is a tragic reminder of an existing gang of psychopathic serial killers murderirrt at will for over ten yeals without any justice for the families left bereaired. Without such justice, there can be no healing process' The events of Upper Bann, mir:rored right across Northern Ireland, are a gross indictment of an obscene security policy that. has allowed murderers to prosper to the detriment of their innocent victims. There can be no doubt that serious questions need to be both asked and last answered, about why this gang was allowed to kill at will over the eleven years.

The tragic scene at the tuneral of David Johnston

If you believe that something has to be done to stop these psychopaths from killing again, the person ultimately responsible for security is the Prime Minister.

We believe that by writing to Mr Tony Blair, Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, London swlA 2AA, about these murdels you can highlighl in a positive way your feelings about this tragic situation. The grief and the pain of those affected is never going to go away but by trigtrllghting that these dangerous psychopaths.are still at large it *uy,In s6me small way, help prevent them from killing again' one can only hope that these particular killers will someday be brought to account for their foul deedi, if not in this life then surely in the next' In the meantime, to sit and do nothing is to passively condone their actions. Hopefully rhis booklet sheds some ligtrtinto ft9 dqf,murderous history of airocities car:ried out in the name of Irish nationalism in Upper Bann. t

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:^:" *4);t'^p;zw t , ;-"\",f: * ,".-",'L,ou& Jcq liG'*V,.trx* ,'.,tl l;{g- X-;',i yl x u:;5 * ^;t?D A poignant

message rvritten on a u,reath by one of David Johnston's two sons.

This booklet is designed to raise awareness regarding a group ofpsychopathic serial killers who have perhaps murdered up to sixtcen people over the last clcven years. Starting in 1988 and up to the present time, not one persor has becn successiully convicted for any of these murders carricd out in the name of Irish Nationalism. It asks disturbing questions about multiple murders and tlueries what has been going on.

Why has no-one been convicted dcspitc sixteen murders being committed in one small area?

Why, over the last eleven years, was no outside help and specialist personnel brought in to help solve these killings?

Why has no Jeading politician highlighted the fact that a gang of serial killers has been

killing at will for over

a decade?

Why do the Provisional IRA appear helpless to stop the flow of information and weapons to the security lorces in this area during the past decade? Why have up-to-date DNA forensic techniques not led to successful prosecutions'? Would psychological profiling of suspects help lead the aulhorities to understand the motivation, personalities and identity of the serial killers?

At this stage there are more questions than answers. but lhe booklet atlempts to throw some light on the subject and looks at a dark, murderous chapter in our conllict.



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