Poyntzpass murders committed ‘to clear killers’ LVF drug debt’

THE sectarian murders of two friends in Co Armagh 20 years ago may have been carried out because the killers had a £1,000 drugs debt with the LVF.

* ‘I CAN’T FORGIVE OR FORGET’: Ethel Allen, whose son Philip was murdered by the LVF along with his friend Damien Trainor in the Railway Bar in Poyntzpass in 1998.

Philip Allen and Damien Trainor – one a Protestant, the other a Catholic – were shot dead as they sat togeather in a bar in Poyntzpass on March 3rd 1988. The attack came just weeks before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and made headlines around the world. Loyalists Stephen McClean and Noel McGready laughed in court when they were sentenced to life for the savage murders, with a judge saying it “will be remembered as one of the most heinous events in the history of the North of Ireland”.

Speaking ahead of the 20th anniversary of her son’s murder tommorow, Mr Allen’s mother Ethel says she can never forgive the killers. ” No, nor forget. I couldn’t,” she says. “I have only three grand-children. I could have had six grandchildren. “I could have seen Philly happily married.”

Mrs Allen (74), the last surviving parent of the two men, also reveals she was told that McClean and McCready may have carried out the murders to clear a drug debt with the LVF. “I don’t know why they picked Philip and Damien but I was told that they owed £1,000 for drugs and if they killed two Catholics that was their bill paid for. That came from a reliable source,” she says. “But they didn’t kill two Catholics. They didn’t care “Why was them boys’ two lives only worth £500? A life is worth a hell of a lot more than that.” In another interview in The Irish News today, a woman working at the Railway Bar last night recalls the moment the killers struck. Bernie Canavan (84) says bullets struck the frame of a door as she made her escape. “They said ‘lie down’ but then they just started to shoot and I ran up the stairs… I thought they were going to follow me,” she says.

With many thanks to: Connla Young and The Irish News for the origional story.

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