Britain’s Dirty War: The Murder of Sam Marshall

On the 7th of March 1990 Sam Marshall and his two friends, Colin Duffy and Tony McCaughey, were attacked by British gunmen as they left the Royal Ulster Constabulary barracks in Lurgan. The three men had been signing in at the British police station at a prearranged time as part of bail conditions. As they left the barracks they were attacked by gunmen and while Duffy and McCaughey escaped Sam Marshall was murdered by gunmen. The gunmen made their getaway in two cars one and it later emerged one of those cars, a red Maestro, belonged to British Military Intelligence. It has also been established that the weapons used in the murder were smuggled into Ireland from South Africa by Brian Nelson, a key member of British Military Intelligence in Ireland. Responsibility for the murder and attempted murders was claimed by the UVF.

The British gunmen intended to murder all three men and Colin Duffy has spent many of the intervening years in British jails on various trumped up charges. The murder of Sam Marshall is but one example of Britain’s dirty war in Ireland. The Marshall family, whose lawyer Rosemary Nelson was herself murdered through collusion, have campaigned tirelessly for the truth to be uncovered in this case of British state collusion. Now more evidence of the British state’s involvement in Sam Marshall’s murder has been revealed. A review by British police’s Historical Enquiries Team (HET) has uncovered the following:

:: At least eight undercover soldiers were deployed near the killing, with their commander monitoring from a remote location;

:: The armed military intelligence personnel at the scene were in six cars, including the noted red Maestro;

:: Two plainclothed soldiers with camera equipment were in an observation post at the entrance of the police station as the three republicans arrived and left;

:: Two undercover soldiers followed the republicans on foot, and were within 50-100 yards of the attack, but said they did not to see the killing in which the gunmen fired 49 shots;

:: After the two masked loyalists jumped from a Rover car and started shooting, the troops did not return fire, claiming it was out of their line of sight and too far away, but alerted colleagues who launched an unsuccessful search for the killers. Despite being in a republican area, the soldiers make no reference to feeling at risk from the gunmen.

:: The killers’ guns are believed to have been used in four other murders and an attempted murder. Weapons of the same type have been linked by police to seven further killings and four attempted murders carried out in 1988/89;

:: The RUC found gloves near the gang’s burned-out getaway car, but the gloves were subsequently lost;

:: The RUC sought to deny the existence of a surveillance operation by giving “misleading or incomplete” statements. But RUC Special Branch had briefed the undercover troops;

:: Investigators could not rule in, or rule out, that the RUC leaked information to the loyalists. But they said the killers may have gathered their own intelligence.

The family of Sam Marshall have organised a wreath laying ceremony and book launch in memory of their brother Sam murdered on the 7th March 1990.

The wreath laying ceremony will take place at Kilmaine Street Lurgan at 7.35 pm on Wednesday 7th March 2012, to coincide with the exact time Sam was brutally murdered 22 years ago.

The book launch will take place straight after in St Peters GAA club at 8.00 pm.

The Marshall family have always believed that there was state involvement in Sam’s murder and the book will expose the existence of an official state cover-up and denial which began in 1990 and continues to the present day it will also reveal evidence that will expose the full extent of the British surveillance operation which was in place at the time of Sam’s murder.


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