Reavey murders: Second ex-police officer will not be prosecuted

Reavey brothers
The three Reavey brothers, Anthony, John Martin and Brian Reavey, who were murdered in an attack at their family home in south Armagh [BBC]

A second former police officer will not be prosecuted in relation to the murder of three County Armagh brothers.

Anthony, John Martin and Brian Reavey died in an attack at their family home in Whitecross in January 1976.

The attack was linked to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) Glenanne Gang.

Earlier in 2024, the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) said the evidence available was insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction against another former police officer.

This week Eugene Reavey, one of the brothers' siblings, received a letter from the PPS confirming it had decided not to pursue prosecution of a second former officer in relation to the killings.

Again, this was stated to be as a result of insufficient available evidence to afford a reasonable prospect of obtaining a conviction.

Mr Reavey said he intended to challenge the decision.

"I got a letter in February from the PPS telling me that they couldn't go forward in relation to one of the officers," he said.

"Wednesday this week at 11 o'clock I received a letter in relation to the second officer."

Eugene Reavey
Eugene Reavey, whose three brothers were murdered in 1976, said justice was very difficult to get in Northern Ireland [BBC]

Mr Reavey, who has led a long campaign seeking the truth about the murders, told BBC News NI about his siblings.

"I lost my three brothers," he said.

"John Martin was 24 going on 25. He was a bricklayer and was single.

"Brian was 22 and was a joiner and a very talented footballer. He was to be married on 14 August that year.

"Anthony was 17 and he was an apprentice electrician and he was a good footballer. They had no interest in politics and no interest in paramilitaries or anything like that."

Mr Reavey said he had gone "the legal route" in his pursuit of justice for his brothers.

"We have tried and tried ever since to get justice for them but justice is a very difficult thing to get in Northern Ireland," he added.

"I tried to comply with the law all these years and I have been badly let down by the system.

"There is no justice for innocent people. You get ignored by everybody."

He said he and his family had 28 days to lodge an appeal and that he would be meeting his lawyers this week to plan their next move.

"I'm just looking for the truth but that seems to be in short supply," he said.

A PPS spokesperson said that after careful consideration, "it has been concluded that the available evidence is insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of obtaining a conviction".

"The reasons for the decision in this case related to a lack of sufficient admissible evidence to establish the officer as having been involved in specific incidents," they added.

The spokesperson said that the PPS understood that this would be "disappointing" for the affected families, adding: "We have written to them outlining the detailed reasons for the decisions relating to their case".