Killed in 2001: Martin O’Hagan
The Dublin-based Sunday Business Post has claimed it knows the name of the killer of Sunday World journalist Martin O’Hagan but for legal reasons cannot publish it.
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O’Hagan was shot dead near his home in Lurgan, County Armagh, in September 2001 and no one has been charged with his murder.
The Post said it has obtained details about the gunman from Barry Bradbury, a 62-year-old Loyalist who had been the murdered journalist’s prime contact. Bradbury said he received the information from a “trusted contact’ in the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
The murder of O’Hagan is believed to have been ordered by Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) leader Mark Fulton, who died in prison in June 2002, following extensive reporting by the journalist about the LVF.
According to Bradbury, O’Hagan had been working on a number of potentially damaging stories about police collusion and paramilitary groups at the time of his killing.
A former colleague and a close friend of O’Hagan, Jim Campbell, is quoted as agreeing that the man named by Bradbury is the “likely killer”.
The suspect, in his mid-thirties, is said to have been linked with two other murders in Northern Ireland.
According to the Post report, he had been working as a Special Branch agent since 1998.
The PSNI press office revealed that it had received two letters from Bradbury but couldn’t comment on an ongoing investigation.
Bradbury told the Post that he had been “eventually told” that a senior officer is dealing with the matter as a matter of urgency. Bradbury also said that his police source did not wish to go public but that he would cooperate with an inquiry if one was held.
Bradbury has survived three assassination attempts and he has told the Post that O’Hagan’s killer had also tried to kill him three years ago. He said that after a period away, the killer is now “back in his old haunts”.
The NUJ marked the third anniversary of O’Hagan’s murder last week by voicing its “grave concern” at the failure to bring his killer to justice.
By Des Cryan in Dublin