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MIAMI SHOWBAND bassist Stephen Travers has vowed to continue the fight for justice after British intelligence papers finally confirmed the involvement of Captain Robert Nairac in the murder of three band members in 1975.
Lead singer Fran O’Toole, guitarist Tony Geraghty and trumpeter Brian McCoy were shot dead at a bogus army checkpoint outside Newry, Co Down, after a planned bomb attack went wrong.
They were killed by members of the notorious Glenanne Gang, made up of loyalist paramilitaries and serving British police officers and soldiers.
It has long been suspected that the Miami Showband Massacre of July 1975 was carried out under the instruction of British army intelligence officer Cpt Nairac.
Mr Travers, who survived the attack, has always insisted that he heard a “clipped British accent,” believed to be that of Cpt Nairac, at the scene of the killings.
He said that the revelation that Cpt Nairac had planned the murders came with “huge disappointment to me that I was right.”
“It was the British army involved in the planning of an execution,” he said.
The heavily redacted Ministry of Defence papers were released to solicitor Michael Flanigan, who represents Mr O’Toole’s widow Valerie Andersen.
She is taking legal action against the MoD and the chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
The documents suggest that Cpt Nairac obtained equipment and uniforms for the killers and indicate that the British officer was responsible for the planning and execution of the attack.
Mr Travers, who has led a decades-long struggle for justice, reacted to the front page of the Irish News on Saturday with mixed feelings.
“When I first saw it, I must have read each line at least 10 times, desperately searching for some reason to be sceptical. But the stark reality of his name on the page before me was both dreadfully sad and at the same time tremendously exciting,” he said.
The PSNI and British state have sought to stop the truth from being heard through their refusal to release documents relating to the case, a move branded “appalling” by Mr Justice Maguire on Friday.
He adjourned the hearing for two weeks, but warned that he was considering striking out the PSNI defence due to the delays.
“I think the time is coming in this case where the court’s patience is [running out],” he said.
Mr Travers described the murders as “an appalling political crime” which would continue to wound “until Britain stops denying us truth and justice.”
“A physician cannot cure a patient without first understanding the ailment. Every case must be thoroughly examined before any healing can commence.
“We cannot expect a sick society to function well. The High Court is where our healing begins and truth is the only medicine required,” he said.
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