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UVF leader exposed as state agent in BBC Troubles programme

LOYALIST paramilitary killer Billy Wright was handed dossiers by the police with the information used to help his murder gang target republicans and their families, according to senior security sources.

They claimed that the notorious leader of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) was a state agent, working for the police and the army in the north of Ireland.

The sixth episode of BBC Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History claimed that Mr Wright’s predecessor as leader of the Mid-Ulster UVF, the late Robin “the Jackal” Jackson, had also been recruited as a state agent.

He is long believed to have been a member of the Glennane Gang — a secret group of serving British soldiers, police officers and loyalist paramilitaries linked to at least 120 murders of mainly Catholic civilians.

Mr Wright’s former associate Laurence Maguire told the programme that he claimed intelligence about targets “was coming from police officers working with him.”

Mr Maguire claimed he was nearby in a car when some meetings with police took place “up alleyways.”

The programme also cites two senior security sources who stated Mr Wright was an agent working for the police and army.

The PSNI said there should be no hiding place for any officer who broke the law and any evidence of wrongdoing should be independently investigated.

Mr Wright and Mr Jackson were both arrested in connection to the 1993 murders of Rory and Gerard Cairns, although were never charged.

The family complained to the Police Ombudsman — at the time Nuala O’Loan — believing the two UVF men “were being protected.”

Ms O’Loan described the new information as “shocking” and said if she was still in post she would have reopened investigations. 

Their mother Shelia Cairns said: “While I’m on Earth I will never get peace.

“Nothing will ever bring me closure because it will never bring Gerard and Rory back.”

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