A 60-year-old man has gone on trial for the murder of an undercover British army officer in Co Louth 33 years ago.
Kevin Crilly went on trial accused of the murder of Captain Robert Nairac at Belfast Crown Court on Monday, January 31. Crilly was said to have escaped and gone on the run to the United States after the killing of Capt Nairac in 1977.
Terence Mooney QC, prosecuting, told Belfast Crown Court that Crilly allegedly confessed to a BBC documentary team that he had a “minimal” involvement in the murder.
In the 2007 BBC documentary ‘The Hunt for Captain Nairac’, Crilly allegedly confessed to his “minimal” role in picking up the gunman, saying he went on the run because “I figured I was going to go to jail”.
Shortly before 9.30pm on Saturday May 14, 1977 Capt Nairac left Bessbrook military base in a red Triumph Toledo car. Armed with a 9mm Browning pistol, he headed for the Three Steps Inn in Dromintee, south Armagh. His mission was to gather information on the IRA.
But as he left the bar at closing time Nairac was attacked by a gang of men. The prosecution claims following Capt Nairac’s abduction from the pub, Crilly, then aged 26, collected gunman Liam Townson, who was later convicted by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin.
Crilly allegedly drove him over the border to Flurry Bridge in Co Louth where, according to Townson’s confession, he “put one into the head” of Capt Nairac.
Crilly, from Jonesborough, Co Armagh, denies the murder and “associated charges” involving the abduction and holding of the Grenadier Guards officer.