Crilly charged with Nairac murder

Kevin Crilly, 59, has been charged with the murder of Captain Robert Nairac in 1977 and has been released on bail – Nairac is on the list of those under the remit of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains and his abduction, murder, and secret burial has been acknowledged by the Provisional IRA. Crilly, who spent 29 years in the US and who had been charged with the kidnap and assault of Nairac in 2008, was revealed to have returned to Northern Ireland by a BBC NI Spotlight investigation in 2007 – which the deputy First Minister didn’t see..

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  • ernie

    what a waste of tax payers money.

  • Sean

    Especially as we know from history that in 2 to 6 months the charges will be quietly dropped when they stop making headlines

  • DR

    yup, almost as big a waste as the bloody sunday enquiry,

    well maybe not quite…

  • Sean


    You are quite correct the Bloody Sunday enquiry is a huge waste of money, all the army had to do was tell the truth

  • Brian Walker

    The charge will spark a huge round of whataboutery over a multitude of other cases and dramatically disturb the de facto amnesty for pre- April 1998. Or is a tacit deal emerging with republicans over disappeared? Given Nairac’s high profile in death and the alleged appalling manner of his murder, it’s a perfect case of its type for asking the question: is it worth it? Crilly’s bailing suggests a certain ritual quality to the exercise. If convicted, how does a two year sentence square with the crime?

  • DR

    true, if only they had of been open and honest like saints Gerry and Marty

  • Skintown Lad

    I’d like to think if I’d been tortured and killed in such a horrific way as is reported, that the state would take whatever steps it could to prosecute my killers no matter when they eventually catch up with them. The fact that this guy has escaped a trial for so long is more reason to prosecute him now, not less.

  • Brit

    Skintown – I know this question may be motivated by some of the worst/base human instincts but what, broadly happend to the Nairac during the interrogation?

    Link if you’d prefer.

  • Robert Nairac

    Robert nairac went to England’s poshest school. He was involved with the Dublin and Monaghan no warning bombings. He went around South Armagh spying on the thick Paddies. He got his just desserts. More revenge “sniping” tactics here against South Armagh, the real undefeated army.

  • Brit

    Does “involved with” mean the same as “primarily or solely morally responsible for”?

    And does “undefeated” mean “unconditionally surrendered after wasting 30 odd years pointlessly murdering lots of people and ensuring a continued reactive campaign by the UVF and UDA”?

  • Gerry boke beard

    According to republicanstones Nairac did the Kingsmill masacre. I think he also shot Kennedy and Franz Ferdinand.

  • Brian MacAodh

    He wasn’t tortured. He was beated by a bunch of drunks and then shot.

    he’s lucky he wasn’t handed over to the IRA proper.

  • Brit

    How did a bunch of drunks “make” him?

  • Ramzi Nohra

    Brit – there’s a fair amount of this in the public domain.
    According to Bandit Country by Toby Harnden, Nairac was a very conspicuous individual. I think he may have appeared in uniform in south armagh before going undercover (not sure about that but from memory it was almost that level of recklesness).

    The drunks in question were on the peripheries of the provos i believe, but not “active” on the night in question. The Provos apparently had him under surveillance thinking he would lead them to other intelligence sources.

    I dont doubt some of the things said by Republicans about Nairac are b*llocks, but former british intelligence officer Fred Holroyd (who supposedly had a high opinion of Nairac) linked him to loyalist death squads – an allegation which i believe was confirmed by s. armagh Loyalist Willie Frazer.
    I believe Willie Frazer also thinks that Nairac later gave information to the provos, however.

  • Skintown Lad

    I doubt Willy Frazer was in a position to “confirm” anything.

    Nothing of what Nairac apparently did or didn’t do (less still what school the contempuous cove had the termerity to be sent to) are of any relevance to whether a suspect for his murder should be tried for it.

  • Sean

    By all means prosecute but I am willing to wager that in 2 to 6 months there will be a quiet announcement by the prosecutor that insuficient evidence means the charges are dropped

  • Skintown Lad

    What’s your theory Sean?

    Do you think this is linked to Hughes’ charges?

    And are they both linked to the recent announcement that some South Armagh provos are helping the dissidents?

  • IRIA

    Crilly charges have been “in the works” for many months now, right?

  • Seamus Murphy

    Rather than all of this being a sop to the DUP; this looks more like case of getting the bad cases out of th way before the Shinners finally get policing and justice.

    Just think of the fallout (publicity for the dissidents) were Hughes have been picked up and nailed, with Martin and the boys overseeing the whoel process!!!

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Nothing of what Nairac apparently did or didn’t do……..are of any relevance to whether a suspect for his murder should be tried for it.’

    It seems some people are still uncomfortable with the idea of British army policy coming to light.

    ‘Gangs and Counter-gangs’

    ‘Low Intensity Operations: Subversion, Insurgency and Peacekeeping’

    The above works by Frank Kitson can be downloaded via Torrent, not that Im encouraging anyone, and im not saying i have. But they do make for unsavoury reading.

  • Reader

    Brian Walker: and dramatically disturb the de facto amnesty for pre- April 1998.
    Good, since there was no amnesty in the GFA – which I voted for.
    Brian Walker: If convicted, how does a two year sentence square with the crime?
    Better than nothing – and that *was* part of the deal.

  • Brian MacAodh


    The people who took him out were not in the IRA. I think there was one or two inactive members out of a group of 5 or 6 at the bar who confronted him outside the front door after last call and then wrestled him in the car park. They beat him up some and threw him in their car…they knew he wasn’t who he said he was and weren’t sure what to do so they took him to Dundalk where one of them knew an IRA man was hiding out.

    This IRA man had been drinking all day (it was 3 am or so), and by his account “had much drink taken” and that his memory was fuzzy (he was probably close to black out drunk). He had a handgun he brought with him. Basically, they asked him some questions between kicks and punches in a field and then ended up shooting him. They were all admittedly drunk.

    Anyway, the Provos missed a big boost. If the real veteran interrogators got ahold of him and had their time with him, he may well have given away other agents or soldiers. He would have been tortured by them, its safe to say.

    The Provos got all the publicity out of it they could, but actually having a live undercover SAS man in their custody for a debriefing would have been something they only dreamed of. From what I have read the S. Armagh IRA knew he was an intelligent agent and were hoping they could learn more from him before taking him out. Having some local sympathizers take matters in to their own hands (in front of witnesses and in an amatuer fashion) was not the outcome they were hoping for.

    As one poster mentioned, this has been written about in several books (‘Bandit Country’, and ‘Dirty War’ are two.

    I got a used ‘Bandit Country’ for dirt cheap on amazon a few years back. It’s a good read and compelling look into South Armagh. I highly recommend it.

    ANwyay, I know a bunch of people already went to jail for this. I guess this guy Crilly was the one (if i remember correctly) who fled to AMerica.

  • Freddie


    If the real interrogators had gotten hold of him is it not more likely that he would have made a miarculous escape?

  • Dave

    “Anyway, the Provos missed a big boost. If the real veteran interrogators got ahold of him and had their time with him, he may well have given away other agents or soldiers. He would have been tortured by them, its safe to say.”

    True, but that was before Gerry and Martin appointed British agents to run the Nutting Squad and kept them in place when standard counter-intelligence procedure is to rotate top positions to avoid long-term infiltration by agents. After Gerry and Martin nutted the Nutting Squad, it only ever killed low level British agents who had out-lived their usefulness and PIRA opperatives who served as fall guys for higher level agents within PIRA. Any senior British agent within PIRA who was exposed after ‘nutting’ that was not exposed by the ISU but by other areas of British Intelligence.

  • Dave

    Typo: “Any senior British agent within PIRA who was exposed after that ‘nutting’was not exposed by the ISU but by other areas of British Intelligence.”

  • paddy

    IF this man is convicted the familys of the dissapeared should appeal to the attorney general the same way harry hollands family supported by adams is doing if the body isnt handed over he wont be released after all thats y ian bradys still locked up hes done his sentence because he wont tell were the bodys r thers no difference

  • Dave

    Paddy, he was put through a sausage mixer, so there is no body to hand over.

  • Freddie


    You were there?

  • paddy

    dave how do u no he was put through a sauage mincer u must bring this info to the police according to conor murphy british mp who doesnt agree wif his best friend being arrested for fraud tell him he can tell his best mates in the psni

  • Dave

    No, and I didn’t witness the assassination of Abraham Lincoln either but I nevertheless accept that he died from a bullet wound from the pistol of John Wilkes Booth. Your point?

  • Dave

    Okay… that’s it. I will never again reply to anyone who communicates in text-speak!

  • paddy

    dave wat about smoke signals r brail ure in 1 dont be kicking the dog

  • paddy

    dave wat about smoke signals r brail ure in 1 dont be kicking the dog

  • Freddie

    How Abraham Lincoln died is established historical fact. According to you we only have the word of a few drunken semi republicans, and a paralytic Provo to go by with regards to Captain Robert Nairac GC. Where did they state hat he had been ‘put through a sausage mincer’? I was under the impression that the fate of his body remained a mystery. Like those of so many others who had the misfortune to encounter the brutality of Irish republicanism.

  • Dave

    Freddie, how Abraham Lincoln died and and who killed him was not verified by this observer (it is a priori and a posteriori), relying on third-party witness accounts. You implied that knowledge must be [i]a posteriori[/i] to be valid. I simply pointed out that epistemology is a broader church. 😉

    As for the sausgage mixer, the source is Tim Pat Coogan.

  • Dave

    (it is [i]a priori[/i] and [b]not[/b] [i]a posteriori[/i])*


  • ernie

    There was a photo of him in unifrom on the falls road ,there is a few storys about where his body ender up ,mince meat ,fed to pigs ,got beating up by a group drunks [ almost got away ] then shot and put in a unknow grave in bogs just some storys floating about .

  • Dave

    One other point, Freddie, since you modified your original argument that only eye-witnesses can know what occurred to claiming that knowledge doesn’t have to be first-hand but can indeed be second-hand if the eye-witnesses are deemed credible, perhaps you would like to elaborate on your knowledge that the eye-witnesses were drunk and therefore not credible? Were you there, Freddie, and observed the eye-witnesses drinking or are you satisfied that those who claim to have observed the drinking are credible witnesses? It seems that you are in an awkward bind.

  • quizzically disturbed

    “Robert nairac went to England’s poshest school”

    er, certainly worth a death sentence ….

    are commenting justifying Nairac’s murder going to be allowed to remain? part of the new slugger slant I take it?

  • Sean McEntee


    It seems like a right tangled web. In Secret History of the Ira, who is being alleged to have been a Brit agent/informer? McGuinness and/or Adams?

    Nairac went to England’s poshest Catholic school and then started playing Biggles in South Armagh, where the details are sketchy. It defies belief that South Armagh locals would not know IRA volunteers closer to hand.

    Nairac worked with the Jackal, with the Dublin bombers and with Gordon Kerr?

    Was Wille Frazer ever “active” or is he just a big mouth?

  • Freddie


    If Tim Pat Coogan is your source then I would suggest that you consider attempting to find another who is not quite so biased. What witness accounts did he quote btw?

    I don’t see that I am in any bind at all. The eyewitnesses themselves claimed to be drunk. None of them claimed that Captain Nairac had been put through a sausage machine. For that little tit bit you rely on the Provo ‘historian’ Coogan.

    Quite a lot of rubbish has been written about Nairac. Pretty much none of it from credible sources. (see Sean McEntee’s above) Suffice to say that the guy was sufficiently effective in counter IRA operations to warrant forty years of smear stories.

  • Ramzi Nohra

    thats right freddie. Smears emanating from such well known provos as Willie Frazer and Fred Holroys.

    And indeed the provos referred to him as a “brave soldier” (or some such) in a statement.

  • Freddie


    Holroyd was kicked out of the army after suffering a mental breakdown. Something he denied he was suffering from, and something which left him embittered against the army. Hardly a trustworthy source.

    Willie Frazer was a child when Nairac was murdered. What makes him a reliable source in your view and do you value all of his opinions as highly as you view his opinions on Nairac?

  • Ramzi Nohra

    Hi freddie
    No, I believe he resigned from the army. MI6 had him institutionalised for a bit. I’ve read Holroyd’s book and seen him interviewed numerous times. I find him convincing. He did not come across as bitter at the army – nor indeed with Nairac. I dont think there is any independent evidence of mental problems.

    As an aside, you may want to look at what happened to Colin Wallace (ie framed for murder) for making allegations at the same time.

    Frazer’s father was in the UDR, and, according to willie a member of some special forces unit. He was killed by the ira. I have seen a quote by him implying that Nairac set up his father. Hardly proof of course, but he was connected to events.

    However you were talking about smears arising as a result of his “effective counter IRA operations”. Are you saying that is the motivation of frazer and holroyd?

  • Freddie

    Hi Ramzi,

    So the two main sources of information which accuses Nairac of wrongdoing come from someone who was committed to a mental institution, and someone who was a child at the time. Anyone with any knowledge of the UDR will tell you that they did not form a part of any Special Forces units. Indeed they were prevented from doing so by law.

    No I am not saying that is the motivation of Frazer and Holroyd at all. I am saying that is the motivation of republican commentators on the matter.

  • Ramzi Nohra

    well OK we arent going to agree.
    re the udr, you are probably right. What frazer called a “special forces unit” would i believe be called “loyalist dealth squad” in common parlance.

  • Freddie

    How easily the victims of IRA murder squads can be labeled, and all on the word of a nutter and someone who was a child at the time.

  • fine

    “And does “undefeated” mean “unconditionally surrendered after wasting 30 odd years pointlessly murdering lots of people and ensuring a continued reactive campaign by the UVF and UDA”?”

    Loyalists had been murdering since 1966 and their murder spree was anything but reactive.