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Dublin: 16 °C Thursday 30 October, 2014

Armagh man not guilty of 1977 murder of British soldier

Belfast Crown Court clears Kevin Crilly of murdering Captain Robert Nairac, who disappeared in May 1977.

Kevin Crilly (centre) leaving Belfast Crown Court earlier today after his acquittal.
Kevin Crilly (centre) leaving Belfast Crown Court earlier today after his acquittal.
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AN ARMAGH MAN who was accused of abducting a British soldier from a bar and killing him in the Republic has been cleared of the charges.

Kevin Crilly, now 60, had been charged with murdering Captain Robert Nairac – an undercover soldier – in what was one of the most infamous killings of the Northern Irish Troubles.

The prosecution at Belfast Crown Court had claimed that Crilly had kidnapped Nairac from the Three Steps Inn in Drumintee, just north of the border, before collecting Liam Townson who was convicted by the Special Criminal Court of the murder.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that the Court found, however, that while it was clear Crilly had been present on the night, the prosecution had not been able to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

All five charges – including murder, kidnapping and false imprisonment – were cleared.

Crilly, of Jonesborough, had moved to the United States for 27 years after the murder.

Nairac, an Oxford graduate, had been attempting to pass himself off as a republican volunteer in the bar, in an attempt to embed himself among the paramilitary ranks, before he was killed. His body has never been found.

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