| 10.8°C Dublin

'Poison Dwarf' Triple killer and former UVF deputy commander Denis McClean dies

The loyalist was also part of the UVF team which bombed Dublin and Monaghan, claiming the lives of 33 people


UVF killer Denis McClean who died this week.

UVF killer Denis McClean who died this week.

UVF killer Denis McClean who died this week.

A loyalist triple killer – who was also part of the UVF team which bombed Dublin and Monaghan – has died.

Diminutive Denis McClean (74) passed away this week after a short illness. He had been suffering from severe respiratory and circulation problems brought on by diabetes.

Although he was unable to walk without the aid of a Zimmer frame, until recently McClean attended events in the Shankill area held in honour of loyalist lifers.

At the time of his arrest in 1988, McClean – of Northland Street – was a deputy commander in the UVF.

He was sent down for 400 years when he appeared before the Crown Court in Belfast, where he confessed to catalogue of loyalist terror crimes including three murders.

The UVF man pleaded guilty to:

  • Three murders
  • The manslaughter of a police woman in a bomb attack in Bangor.
  • Six attempted murders
  • Bomb making
  • Possessions of guns and bombs
  • Membership of the UVF


The aftermath of the Dublin bombing

The aftermath of the Dublin bombing

The aftermath of the Dublin bombing

Ironically, McClean was never convicted of his role in a series of car bomb attacks in Dublin and Monaghan which claimed the lives of 33 people.

The 1974 Dublin/Monaghan atrocities resulted in the biggest loss of life in a single day during the entire Troubles.

Behind bars, moustachioed McClean, who was only 5ft tall, was known by a series of nicknames, including ‘The Poison Dwarf.

But he was also known as ‘Hate-the-World’ as a result of his inability to adjust to life on the loyalist wings of the Maze Prison.

“There was only one man responsible for Denis McClean getting 400 years and that was himself. He signed a statement admitting everything except Dublin/Monaghan, which he wasn’t even questioned about,” a loyalist source told us.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Sentencing Denis McClean to three life sentences, Lord Justice MacDermott told him he had been convicted of “an appalling catalogue of terrorist crime”.

But after serving just over 10 years in jail, lady luck shone once again on the ruthless killer.

Because along with hundreds of other paramilitary prisoners, McClean walked free from the Maze under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Denis McClean was just 22 when he played a major role in the Dublin/Monaghan bomb atrocities.

A series of no-warning car bombs in Dublin city centre and another near the border in Monaghan town later the same day claimed the lives of 33 innocent people in May 1974.

McClean was suspected of stealing two cars used in the attacks as well as manufacturing at least one of the explosive devices.

On October 31 1984, Denis McClean led a UVF assassination squad into the home of Catholic taxi driver Harry Muldoon in the Mountainview area of north Belfast.

Mr Muldoon’s daughter, 21 year-old Angela, watched as McClean shot her father dead.

Six years before, Harry Muldoon’s wife had died and he had raised their two daughters on his own. His other daughter was just 11 years of age when her father was gunned down in the family home.

Recalling the night McClean and his UVF murder gang brought death to the Muldoon home, Angela said: “At first I thought it was thunder and lightning.

“My daddy was lying on the stairs and one of them was hitting him with a gun. I saw two gunmen. My daddy shouted ‘Get the police’. They chased him into my bedroom where they shot him dead.”

When Denis McClean was released from jail early, Angela told reporters: “Our family wants to see the peace process work.

“But it is slap in the face for us when prisoners are being offered compensation and taken around pubs and clubs and treated like national heroes.”

McClean was also convicted of killing the first female RUC officer to lose here life in the Troubles.

He also pleaded guilty to the murder of 62 year-old Protestant William Wallace.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Top Videos