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reavey killings Police Ombudsman refers former RUC officer to PPS in connection with loyalist murders

Eugene Reavey, whose three brothers were shot dead, said the news is a 'major breakthrough'

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Eugene Reavey continues his fight for justice over the murder of his three brothers  (Pic: Kevin Scott/Belfast Telegraph)

Eugene Reavey continues his fight for justice over the murder of his three brothers (Pic: Kevin Scott/Belfast Telegraph)

Eugene Reavey continues his fight for justice over the murder of his three brothers (Pic: Kevin Scott/Belfast Telegraph)

A former RUC officer has been referred to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) in connection to a Troubles triple murder in 1976.

John (24), Brian (22) and Anthony (17) Reavey were gunned down by loyalists as they sat in their family home in Whitecross, County Armagh, while watching television in January of that year during one of the bloodiest periods of the Troubles.

The murders have long been thought to have been carried out by the ‘Glenanne Gang’, a loyalist murder squad, alleged to have among its members serving RUC officers and British Army personnel.

On the same day the Reaveys were murdered, at the same time, gunmen burst into the home of the O’Dowd family in Ballydougan, Co Armagh, killing SDLP members Joseph O'Dowd (61) and his nephews Barry (24) and Declan (19).

The next day, republican terrorists retaliated for the murders by massacring ten Protestant workmen in Kingsmill in the county.

John and Brian died in the attack, and their brother Anthony died several weeks later due to injuries sustained in the shooting.

Now the Police Ombudsman has confirmed they’ve sent a file to the PPS after new evidence emerged recently.

A spokesperson for the PPS said: "The Police Ombudsman’s Office has submitted a prosecutorial advice file to the Public Prosecution Service in relation to potential offences by a former RUC officer in the 1970s.

"The potential offences include the murders of brothers John, Anthony and Brian Reavey at Whitecross, Co Armagh in 1976."

The brother of the three murdered Reavey brothers, Eugene Reavey, told the Irish News the development that a former RUC officer had been referred to the PPS had come as a shock to him and was "major breakthrough".

He said: "When they told me they had received fresh evidence, and that they would be referring the matter for prosecution, I couldn’t believe it.

"I promised my father that I would continue the fight for justice for John Martin, Brian, and Anthony and today I believe we are a step closer to that."

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He added: "It is regrettable that the police did not do their job sooner.

"This is 46 years in the making. I told them 40 years ago who murdered my brothers and they never gave me any heed. I now look forward to seeing those responsible in court and held to account for their actions."

A report into the Glenanne Gang is to be published in the coming weeks by former English chief constable Jon Boutcher.

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