Infamous loyalist killer `Jackal' dies of cancer

 

Robin Jackson, a loyalist killer of the 1970s and 1980s, who was known as "The Jackal", has died of cancer at his home near Lurgan. He has been buried in a small graveyard at Donaghmore, near Newry, Co Down.

Jackson died last Saturday. His funeral, which took place on Monday, was attended by family and some members of the Ulster Volunteer Force's Belfast brigade.

For more than two decades Jackson terrorised Catholics in Northern Ireland. He was linked to some of the most vicious killing of the Troubles and was the commander of the Mid-Ulster UVF from 1972 until the early 1990s.

He also features prominently in a book called The Committee by Sean McPhilemy, which alleges widespread collusion between the Northern Ireland security services and loyalist paramilitaries.

Born in the Protestant townland of Donaghmore in 1947, he first came to prominence in 1972 when, along with other members of a UVF/UDA gang, he took part in a raid on the armoury of a UDR barracks in Lurgan. Jackson was a member of the UDR and remained one until he was dismissed in 1974 for paramilitary links.

He committed his first murder in October 1973 when, along with Wesley Somerville, who was later killed in the Miami Showband massacre, he shot dead a factory worker, Mr Patrick Campbell, at his Banbridge home.

Jackson was also named by Yorkshire Television in a recent programme on the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings. He was said to be one of the main organisers of those atrocities which killed 33 people. No one has ever been charged with these crimes, although there is little doubt that both were the work of the UVF.

It is believed that in 1975 Jackson and the UVF were involved in at least 15 further killings. The Mid-Ulster UVF then had strong links with certain sections of the security services, in particular 14 intelligence and security companies based at Castledillon, near Portadown.

One of the officers attached to one unit was Capt Robert Nairac. Nairac, it is believed, supplied the UVF with information and weapons to carry out a number of murders of Catholics in Cos Armagh and Tyrone. In 1977 Nairac was abducted from The Three Steps Inn, Drumintee, south Armagh, and executed by the IRA. His body has not been discovered.

in the next few years Jackson and the Mid-Ulster UVF claimed the lives of 20 Catholics, including the murder of a grocer, Mr William Stratheran, at Ahoghill, Co Antrim. This killing was linked to a member of the RUC who drove Jackson and his accomplice to and from the scene.

Towards the end of the 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Jackson became the mastermind of UVF activities around Portadown and Lurgan, which became known as "the murder triangle". He maintained his contacts with the security forces, in particular the SAS, who, it is believed, took him abroad for specialist training.

The last killings with which Jackson is linked took place in 1990 and 1991 when Mr Sam Marshall, Ms Catriona Rennie, Ms Eileen Duffy and Mr Brian Frizzell, all Catholics, were shot dead in Lurgan, Co Armagh. Once again these killings are alleged to have involved members of the security forces.