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infamous gunman Triple killer claims he still has hunting crossbow following police weapons raid

UVF murderer was the focus of a police weapons search

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Killer Garfield Beattie in his Co Armagh

Killer Garfield Beattie in his Co Armagh

Killer Garfield Beattie in his Co Armagh

Convicted mass killer Garfield Beattie doesn't have any guns - but he's still in possession of this power hunting crossbow, the Sunday World can reveal.

Armed police last week swooped on his cottage home at Annaghmore, Co Armagh, in a search for firearms and ammunition.

Despite extensive searches of the two-bedroom house and three wooden outhouses, no firearms were found.

But we can reveal that he keeps this crossbow in one of the outhouses - and still has it.

The former UVF lifer was recently convicted in court of writing a threatening letter to the politician daughter of one of his victims.

Beattie (65) was found guilty at Dungannon Magistrates Court of sending Councillor Denise Mullen an abusive letter with the aim of getting her to drop legal proceedings against him.

He is due back in court again for sentencing on November 26.

But Beattie - who works as an artist - now believes his love of archery may have been the real reason behind the police action.

"It's all very confusing. Obviously, there were no guns of any kind in this house.

"But I was a member of the Lisburn Archery Club for many years and I kept my bows in the house.

"One was a crossbow - which I sold recently - and the other was a powerful hunting bow which I still have.

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Garfield Beattie

Garfield Beattie

Garfield Beattie

"I know I was convicted in court of writing that letter to Denise Mullen and I know that I made out it came from the UVF.

"But in truth, I've had nothing to do with the UVF since the day and hour I left the Maze Prison.

"And the only thing I can think of is that someone saw me with the crossbow when I was selling it last April, but of course, it was perfectly legal for me to have a crossbow and a compound hunting bow," he said.

The three-time UVF killer told the Sunday World he became interested in archery after reading about World War II hero Captain Jack Churchill.

"Towards the end of the war, Captain Churchill killed a German soldier with a bow and arrow from a distance of 200 yards.

"It was his action which got me interested in archery and it turned out I was quite good at it. I'm fairly accurate at 100 yards," he said.

Beattie, who lives alone, served 16 years behind bars for murdering 36-year-old father-of-two Denis Mullen in 1975.

An ambulance controller in the Tyrone Hospital and a prominent member of the SDLP, Mr Mullen had just returned home when a UVF gang attacked the family home at Collegelands outside the Moy.

After a window was broken, Mr Mullen stepped outside and was gunned down on his doorstep.

His terrified wife Olive was forced to flee out a rear window as a hail of 13 more bullets were concentrated on the family living room.

Beattie made a full confession to police after he was arrested in relation to another murder.

Speaking to the Sunday World, he repeated an apology he had earlier made to Ms Mullen following his conviction at Dungannon Magistrates Court.

"I should never have done it. I bitterly regret sending that letter and I'm very sorry for what I've done.

"But what a lot of people seem to have forgotten is that when I went to trial two of the charges against me were dropped," he said.

Beattie added: "I just want it finished."

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