Northern Ireland

Eamon Collins murder: Two men arrested in Newry

Eamon Collins Image copyright VT Freeze Frame - free to use
Image caption Eamon Collins was murdered a short distance from his Newry home

Detectives investigating the murder of former IRA man Eamon Collins 15 years ago have arrested two men.

The pair, aged 42 and 55, were arrested in Newry, County Down on Thursday.

Mr Collins, 45, was found beaten and stabbed to death on 27 January 1999. Police believe he may also have been deliberately struck by a car.

His body was found at Dorans Hill, a country road a short distance from his home in the Barcroft estate in Newry.

Image caption Mr Collins's body was found at Dorans Hill

Det Ch Insp Peter Montgomery said: "I would ask those with information about Mr Collins' murder, particularly those in the Barcroft estate, to think again about the awfulness of what happened and about the Collins family.

"It is never too late to come forward."

In January of this year, police said they had DNA obtained from the murder scene.

Supergrass

While in the IRA, Mr Collins collected information on police officers and Royal Ulster Constabulary special branch members and set up assassinations over a six-year period.

Although he never directly shot anyone, he provided information and recruited members.

He was arrested in 1985 and charged with 50 terrorist offences including five murders and membership of the IRA.

After his arrest, however, he turned supergrass, the term used for those prepared to give evidence against former colleagues.

More than 40 suspects were arrested, but most were released after Mr Collins had a change of heart.

He walked free from Belfast Crown Court after the judge dismissed his alleged confessions.

He later wrote a book, Killing Rage, which was highly critical of the IRA.

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