What the Wright inquiry won’t see…

Chris Thorton notes in yesterday’s Belfast Telegraph that much of the evidence will be missing for the Wright Inquiry as it begins public hearings about the LVF chief’s murder. And since the head of the Maze at the time, Martin Mogg, died back in 2005, he cannot answer allegations that he destroyed much of the material.

Key records from the Maze Prison at the time of the murder are known to have been destroyed, including security files on 800 prisoners – among them virtually every inmate released under the Good Friday Agreement. Journals describing activity in the H-6 block, where the murder occurred, in the weeks leading up to the killing were also destroyed – burned as part of a “freedom of information exercise”. Files on two of Wright’s three killers are among the missing material, including John Kennaway, the killer who was recently returned to prison. Documents that could explain how the murder weapons were smuggled into the prison have also disappeared. Some of the missing material was previously available to Justice Peter Cory, the retired Canadian judge who recommended the inquiry.


  • If this is the standard of coverage by the media of the inquiry, it will be a total waste of time and money. I have been unable to see Chris Thornton’s article, but the others I have seen leave much to be desired.

    The assassination of the LVF’s Billy ‘King Rat’ Wright was essential for the Peace Process going ahead despite ‘Mo’ Mowlam’s apparent fears to the contrary at the time. They strike me as a bit of convenient disinformation for the process going forward.

    And the destruction of the prison records for all the prisoners, and the death of its head since could hardly be expected to have prevented any alarming revelations about it from coming out – what induced Canadian Judge Peter Cory to recommend the inquiry on purely formal grounds in the first place. Can anyone seriously believe that such routine material would cast any serious light on this most convenient murder?

    Why Wright’s assassination occurred can only be determined by vigorously questioning his three INLA assassins about why they were motivated to do it, why they were armed and allowed to be in a position to kill him, determining the apparent complicity by their minders in the process, the role, it seems, of the leaders of the pro-peace prisoners, especially Padraig Wilson, in making the necessary arrangements for the hit, etc. – hardly something any of the parties will want to engage in, especially now.

    This inquiry, in sum, strikes me as just another British show trial.

  • Glensman

    I don’t think the issue of whether this killing was useful is important. The pressing issue here is how the British government systematically destroys all evidence of its role in Ireland as soon as someone asks to see a copy.

    It’s just cover up after cover up.

  • Trow

    How would “vigorously questioning” the INLA men reveal the lapses in security by the Prison Service?

  • DK

    Gonzo – because they might say – oh yes, warder x tipped us off about wrights location and warder y stopped the cell searches in our wing, etc…

  • Thanks, DK, for saving me the trouble, and, perhaps, this will help too, Gongo:


  • Trow

    I think DK was being sarcastic.

  • Taxi for Billy

    What I would like to see an inquiry into was how loyalist gunmen could drive into the middle of West Belfast several days later and shoot a couple of council workers.

    The only thing that needs cleared up about the Wright murder is why they could not pump more bullets into him.

  • Ginfizz

    T f B

    Tasteful comment indeed. If of course it had been a dissident republican whacked, I assume you would share these sentiments.

  • the Emerald Pimpernel

    If it was a disident republican chances are they wouldnt have bothered using a third party

    He tried to escape*wink*

  • Taxi for Billy


    Dry your eyes. The man was a butcher and thoroughly got what he deserved. If there was collusion so fcuk. Whilst his passing was lamented in the loyalist homes of Portadown and Willie McCrea’s household, history will remember him for what he was.

  • Yeah, but maybe he was planning to ‘do a McGuinness’, but the time just never seemed right.

  • heck

    I suppose the British opinion is that he is only a paddy so why worry. Instead they can work them selves into a frenzy of outrage over Alexander Litvinenko or Rafik al-Hariri. But Brits killing paddies -well what’s wrong with that?

    as to “Taxi for Billy” I am second to none in my contempt for billy wright but we should remember that he was somebody’s son and there are innocent people who morn for him. If you guys think it is ok to kill him because he was responsible for numerous deaths can I suggest that you put Blair, Reid, Straw and Mandlespin next, to be followed by thatcher and her crew.

  • deadmanonleave

    Billy Wright got what he deserved, and I don’t think that anyone can argue that he was anything other than a squalid sectarian thug, and a danger to ordinary Catholics far more than he was to Republicans.

    However, there are many questions to be answered around some very strange decisions made around where the LVF prisoners were placed (despite warnings from the INLA and I think Prison Officers of what would likely happen) and several other anomalies. I don’t think for one moment that the Brits asked Crip to do it for them, but it’s quite conceivable that they engineered a situation whereby they made this outcome likely.

    It ill behoves any of us to say it doesn’t matter because we didn’t like Wright, as I feel if there were dark forces at work, we should be told. If I remember rightly, Crip said pretty much the same thing a few years back.

  • I agree completely, deadmanonleave, only adding that the head of the Provisional prisoners, Padraig Wilson, might well have given the order to the INLA ones to do in Billy – the killer most opposed to the killers of all stripes giving it up, getting out of jail free, and settling for a peaceful Northern Ireland.

    For the likelihood of ‘King Rat’s tribunal getting anywhere on the subject, notice this complete load of bunk that it got from a professor, apparently setting the scene for the assassination:


    That’s why I gave up on academe long ago – it’s just filled with government flunkeys.

  • Belfast Gonzo


    If you agree that “it’s quite conceivable that they [the British] engineered a situation whereby they made this outcome likely”, then why ask: “Can anyone seriously believe that such routine material would cast any serious light on this most convenient murder?”

    Either you’re contradicting yourself or not explaining what you mean, because such material can prove invaluable when trying to get to the truth.

  • Gonzo, while you seem to be an expert on sarcasm – though DK has never appeared to clarify the matter – have you ever heard of a rhetorical question?

    A rhetorical question is not one asked soley intended to produce a reply but to produce an effect.

    In this case, I was making little of the records kept by the wardens at the Maze, and destroyed by its warden when, in fact, the prison was almost completely run by its inmates – persons known for the murdering abilities rather than their record keeping.

    Do you honestly think that these records would tell us anything material about the most complicated conspiracy which killed Wright?

    The records, I’m convinced, would shed no light on the killing of Billy ‘King Pin’ Wright.

    And what is your opinion on the statement by Professor Richard Ludlow, setting the scene for this inquiry into alleged collusion by British authorities into Wright’s convenient assassination?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    It’s bollocks, much like the last post on Slugger I read.

  • A cool, controlled discussion of matters under debate certainly isn’t your strong suit, Gonzo.

    You should remind me somehow of that great storyteller of all things covert – Hunter Thompson – but actually you sound, as usual, much more like our resident disinformer -‘Martin Ingram’.

  • ingram



    Gonzo, Go easy on him mate he has not taken the tablets today.

    In respect to the murder. I think there are one or two actions which require an explanation and full disclosure of all material so that the inquiry can do its job.

    Is that likely?

    Not whilst I have an hole in my a**e

    Ding Ding


  • Dk

    Seems straightforward – Wright was a liability. The Brits wanted rid of him. The INLA wanted the kudos. The agreement was made. Does that count as collusion? Is collusion a good thing?

  • deadmanonleave

    Yeah, the Brits invited the Irps for tea in the afternoon and asked if they’d mind terribly getting rid of the old bigot!

    I don’t think it worked like that somehow, and I certainly don’t think that in the aftermath of Torney and his mob being booted out of the INLA they were going to be taking orders from the Tiocs.

    I believe there are serious questions, but the answers aren’t that simple.

  • Belfast Gonzo


    From what I can tell, it’s a question of whether doors were opened. Who walks through them, well, you know by now.

    The problem with this inquiry is that no-one gives a fuck that it was King Rat that got plugged.

  • Gerry Kelly


    Calling these INLA volunteers killers is harsh and uncalled for. They waited their chance to spring the rat trap and spring it they did, to the joy of all. Wright’s old man should be ashamamed of himself having a cur for a son. He should consider making amends to Wright’s victims, Catholics mostly but also the Prods he sold his drugs to.
    If an enquiry has to be hamd it should be into why The Jackal, King Rat and the others could operate with impunity for so long.

  • deadmanonleave

    They were INLA volunteers and killed Wright, I have no argument with that. Wright got what he deserved, sure.

    However, I for one wouldn’t let my feelings toward Wright cloud my judgment that there were some very fishy goings on around it.

    I think that the comment about Wright’s dad is unfair, he lost a son, and however bad he was, that hurts. I remember seeing Steenson’s dad interviewed during the IPLO feud, and it was easy to feel his pain, whatever Steenson and co had done to their former comrades.