Loyalist terrorist found guilty of sectarian murder

Sectarian murder victim Alfredo Fusco and his bride on their wedding day

Another of the bereaved families from here finally got some degree of justice today. Loyalist terrorist Robert James Clarke was found guilty of the sectarian murder of 53-year-old Alfredo Fusco in his York Road café on 3 February 1973.

From the BBC report:

Mr Justice McLaughlin said there “was no innocent explanation” for the fact that fingerprints belonging to Clarke were found on the door which Alfredo Fusco was sheltering behind when he was killed.
“Standing back from all the evidence I am left satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant left his prints on the store door on the evening of 3 February 1973 whilst acting as the gunman who killed Mr Fusco,” the judge said.
He added that given the evidence of Mr Fusco struggling to keep the store door closed as the gunman tried to force his way in, “the close proximity from which the rounds were fired” and the fact the gunman swapped weapons with his accomplice after the machine gun jammed, “lead me inevitably to the conclusion that the gunman could have had no other intention but to kill his victim”.

It appears that new technology has allowed for Clarke’s conviction:

In a statement from the Historical Enquiries Team after the trial, lead senior investigator Chris Symonds said the murder had been “sectarian” and had robbed Mr Fusco’s family “of his love”.
He said the emergence of new fingerprint technology allowed them to re-open the case and identify Clarke as the gunman who left his prints on the store door.
“Mr Fusco’s family have waited many years for this new technology to allow them to see justice for their loved one today and we would hope that today’s events would offer some small comfort to them,”

Hopefully this successful conviction of another criminal along with that of McGeough last week are not the last such. Indeed it is possible now with the ability of the terrorists to credibly threaten to return to mayhem or to intimidate witnesses being gradually eroded that more of the criminals of the past forty years may be brought to justice. The fact that they may serve only two years is distasteful but their records will still be marked as the criminals they undoubtedly are: thankfully in its collapse Eames Bradley may also have prevented Quigley Hamilton from wiping the slate clean for the convicted criminals. The fall of Eames Bradley may also ensure that the “Legacy Commission” they proposed never manages to produce the amnesty which Eames Bradley so clearly intended (yet dishonestly pretended otherwise).

In view of its latest success whatever the failings of the Historical Enquiries Team it is clear that the prospect of gaoling the criminals of the past is a real one. It is of course the job of the police to catch criminals and whatever Matt Baggot thinks it is to be hoped that he will be forced to provide resources to this task: Northern Ireland should not be the only place in the British Isles where the murders of the recent past are ignored. If the ongoing enquiries only manage to make the criminals fear the prospect being caught even that is at least some benefit. Clearly, however, it is to be hoped that Clarke is just one in an ongoing and indeed accelerating line of criminals brought to justice. Hopefully the Fusco family will not be the last ones to have someone answer for the murder of their loved one.

, , , ,

  • Was Angelo Fusco of the far famed M 60 gang a relative?

  • Mark

    I wouldn’t say so alan , would you ?

  • Fucking “fingerprints belonging to Clarke were found on the door” on 3 February 1973? The RUC to blame? Not necessarily –the Prosecution Service have in the past decided not to prosecute murder victims who the RUC believed should have been prosecuted –that is exactly what happened when William McGreanery was murdered http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10226501

  • Obvious typo above please excuse.

  • between the bridges

    He said the emergence of new fingerprint technology allowed them to re-open the case….

  • between the bridges –fingerprint ridge detail survived because of the quality of the prints, claiming that new technology provided for those ridge details to be read in some way different today as they were almost 40 years ago is billshit –the whole spin on new technology cleans the horrible fact up –thats all –had DNA been extracted from sweat or oils from the skin that would be different –here we are talking about fingerprints –sure microscopes today are much improved –but the ridge detail will remain the same.

  • Mark

    Bridges ,

    Maybe that’s another way of saying loop hole ? …..

    Do you think these cases help or hinder the healing between ( the bridges ) the two communities in general ?

    and tell Kenny that he has until 12 noon to vacate his room as the honeymoon is over and I’m forever blowing bubbles …..

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    If we were to look at this from the point of view of the families and leave political difference aside.

    One potential advantage of the approach of Eames/Bradley is that it might lead to more of those involved in the killings to come forward and families to find out who killed heir relatives and if they so wished confront/forgive/understand their motivation/excuse for their action.

    I suspect that there may be a Nationalist/Unionist split in victims attitudes on this question with Natiionalists perhaps more likely to see the killings in the context of the political situation and Unionists more likely to view them as individual acts of murder. Not sure if that conjecture is backed by any evidence.

    I think though, that if you are going to quote the families( as you have done above) as a reason for the prosecution route then the basis of that should be clear – not just by for example quoting individual families.

    As an example of how perhaps Nationalist attitudes may differ I dont think most of the families of Bloody Sunday wanted the soldiers to go to prison or those who believe that the army colluded in their loved ones killings want the officers involved to go to prison but rather seek a political recognition/apology from the British government.

    I am not suggesting for a moment that your condemnation is not (laudably) even handed just that you consider that from a family perspective – there may be more than one valid view .

  • Rory Carr

    Can we just clarify sentencing procedure here?

    In England & Wales a conviction for murder carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment after which the trial judge sets a minimum number of years that must be served before release on licence can be considered. This is known as the tariff and is open to appeal.

    Whatever of the tariff however, if and when a life prisoner is released it is a release upon licence, meaning that he is subject to recall at any time during the remainder of his life should he breach any of the conditions of the licence or if his behaviour in any way allows him to be considered a threat to public safety. Thus when I meet any one from the punitive penal brigade who parrot the “Life should mean life!” slogan, I point out to them that, under this system, it already does.

    I am assuming that the same applies in Northern Ireland with the difference being the provision under the GFA whereby a maximum tariff of two years is set for convictions of any murders committed prior to a particular date specified in the GFA.

    But am I correct in also assuming that, in N.I., a life sentence for murder is also mandatory and that the release after two years is also merely upon licence and subject to the same conditions of recall as in England & Wales?

  • between the bridges

    CW maybe maybe not a open mind never dismisses a conspiracy.
    mark, i could tell you what to do with the bubble’s but i don’t want to get a yellow card! re these cases imho there a bit of a joke (not to those directly involved of course) but it is minnows been done. it’s a case of ‘look where still putting some bad boys away for been naughty sure don’t worry about the ones running the expenses, sorry i mean sham, government’

  • Driftwood

    Sammy, no-one has been accused of murder on what is known as ‘bloody’ sunday. The indiscipline of 2 or 3 soldiers was possibly a court martial. But no-one, even the Saville report, accused anyone of murder, even the soldiers returning fire against ‘Machine Gun Marty’ and his nail bombing colleagues.
    The case against Robert Clarke is different, he was a terrorist who comitted a religiously inspired murder. Unlike the Paras, his life was not under threat, and he, like PIRA, had a hatred inspired by religious belief.

    Better for all if all that ‘religious’ hatred was doused.

  • between the bridges

    Evidence of having possession of fingerprints for almost 40 years is not conspiracy. Conspiracy is when ther is no hard facts.

    If new technology reads ridge details different to how old technology read them then that suggests different people could be guilty dependant upon the age of the microscope!!

  • between the bridges

    CW would it not have made more nonsense to burn the door?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    I have little regard for how the British wish to describe their own nefarious activities – but anyway that is not the point.

    Having clambered up on your trusy old-overused hobby horse can I sugggest you dismount and go back to playing with your warhammer or whatever military toys keeps you amused.

  • Rory Carr

    “[Robert Clarke] had a hatred inspired by religious belief.”

    We have no evidence of Clarke’s religious beliefs or lack thereof, nor that any such beliefs played any part in his motivation which was however clearly inspired by a hatred (or fear) of his victim’s presumed religious affiliation (Clarke would have known nothing of Mr Fusco’s beliefs, he was hardly in the position of his spiritual adviser or father confessor).

  • Driftwood

    Just the facts Sammy.
    To Turgons thread
    This, like many murders was a ‘sectarian’ (ie religiously inspired) killing, based on hatred learned both at home and by certain spiritual/political leaders at the time- one can only guess whom.

    A different context to where the (non-sectarian) military were under threat.

  • Driftwood

    Ok then Rory, given that Mr (Senor) Fusco was not known as a PIRA (RC Death Squad) activist, maybe he-Clarke- just didn’t like Italians?
    I suspect you know he was murdered because he was a Roman Catholic.
    I suspect you dont like the fact that religion was the progenitor of all our conflict, preferring the marxist pseudo analysis?

  • Between the bridges

    “CW would it not have made more nonsense to burn the door?”

    Not sure where you are going with that?

    Whatever about what should have been done –the fact is fingerprint evidence convicted a killer today –that was available and just as readable 40 years ago!!! Why was he not locked away 40 years ago???

    Who is responsible for that? and how many murder occured because of that fact?

  • between the bridges

    CW it appears that new technology has allowed for clarke’s conviction..you see methinks it depends on wether your glass is half full that he is at least getting a small amount of justice (two years) or half empty because, depending on which part of the text you highlight in bold, there may or may not have been a grassy knoll.

  • Brian


    And Ballymurphy was just a few undisciplined soldiers too, right?

    Come off it.

    As for this fellow, what a piece of trash. A truly despicable murder. Hope he dies in prison

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    Brian et al

    While your efforts are admirable, I really wouldn;t waste any time on Driftwood. Based on previous experience, he really believes that NI is as British as Finchley ( I doubt he’s ever been to Finchley or anywhere near it).

    Of course, in the real world, we know (or anyone that has lived in Britain! or read the books by people like Douglas Hurd) that even Thatcher never believed that.

    Take a look at the policy of “Ulsterisation” – the truth is that British people may disapprove of the deaths of UDR or RUC men but really as long as it wasn’t “their boys” i.e British people – it was no big deal. I well remember on the same day as 2 RUC men died, the headline on BBC news was Kevin Keegan returing from Germany.

    I’m not being disrespectful to the dead – it’s simply a statement of the truth.

    Driftwood is constantly on here going on about how we should all be happy to be treated equally as we are all “equal” under British rule.

    The only problem is that there are major differences between the Scots, Welsh assemblies and that in NI – Fact! and they won’t be changing anytime soon.

    If Driftwood and his cronies want to sit around and toast the Queen and be proud to be “as British as Finchley” – good luck to them.

    Just don’t tell the real British people (especially those in Finchley). The vast majority of them have no interest in NI and find the so-called “loyalism” of NI Unionists to be laughable and more seriously (when associated with “loyalist”violence) – sickening.

  • Rory Carr

    I do of course, Driftwood, accept that Mr Fusco was murdered because he was a Roman Catholic, or at least that his killer made that assumption based upon his Italian name.

    What I do not accept is that somehow Clarke himself was, as you say, “religiously inspired”. Which religious belief inspired him do you think? Which church? Which minister? Which holy book? No, Mr Fusco was not murdered over differences in the doctrine of transubstantiation, or the importance of good works and sacramental attendance, much less was it divine grace that inspired Clarke. Indeed Clarke could not know if Mr Fusco was a devoutly religious Catholic or one who had abandoned the faith of his childhood. Mr Fusco was murdered by a man from the social grouping Protestant and Unionist because his name placed him in the social grouping, Catholic and hence Nationalist . It was a sectarian murder all right but not a religious one. Clarke was a Loyalist killer of Catholics but he was not a Protestant Jihadist. There is a difference.

  • Between the bridges

    “you see methinks it depends on wether your glass is half full that he is at least getting a small amount of justice (two years) or half empty because,”

    That is in relation to whether or not Clark ever saw the inside of a prison cell. And fair enough on the view.

    My point has not so much to do with Clark but fact that the RUC had his fingerprints. The RUC either hide the prints in a drawer until now (which I doubt) or the RUC passded them to the Prosecution who madea decision to leave Clark run free and do whatever Clark did.

  • Italians were major targets of Protestants during the 1920s’ pogroms too. This is no doubt why many of them joined PIRA.
    I hope someone can anshwer wheher he was a rlative of Angelo. This is relevant, at least to me, when we consider the actions of Stakeknife, a man with an Italian name for whom another man with an Italian name was killed to ocver up theman with the Italian name who was a tout.
    Protestants, in their seemingly random attacks on Catholics, tried to kill a Peruvian man on many occasions. In this case, it would be interesting if there was a real IRA target amd this man was killed to cover for yet another mole.

    As regards forensics: the have improved and these advances were not challenged in court.

  • Alanmaskey your repeated attempts to associate the murder victim with anything to do with others it in very bad taste and an otherwise attempt to suggest that Mr Fusco got what he deserved.

    Re forensics –fingerprints patterns are fingerprint patterns they do not change for any technology. The spin on new technology is just a ploy to avoid culpability from those involved in the 1970’s.

  • andnowwhat

    How would italians have joned the provos in te 20’s when they weren’t created for another 50 years?

    BTW Christy Walsh is on the money about finger prints. Many were convicted on the back in the 70’s.

  • The way this topic is going in relation to who was in the IRA and who was a relation to Mr Fusco is shocking. There is clear attempt being made to suggest that Mr Fusco got what he deserved –if he was not in the IRA then someone he knew was –totally spurious suggestions, particualrly by ALANMASKEY.

    This thread has been linked with that about Samuel Brush –are the same low grade questions being asked about Mr Brush’s relatives being mixed up loyalist paramilitaries –hell maybe Clark is a relative?? Who knows?

  • HeinzGuderian

    Roy,without your dopey religion,there would have been no murder in the first pace !! To say religion had noting to do with this heinous crime,is lamentable !!

    King James,King Billy…………..1690,1745,The Glorious Revolution,Cromwell,1642 rebellion……………….etc,etc,etc………..;-)

    Martin Luther makes a stand. paedophile Pope,slips the hand.
    Paisleys ranting shame and shoddy,priest who plants a bomb in Claudy……………..

    I didn’t start the fire Roy…………..but by fuck mate,you are doing your best to keep the flames fanned !!

  • HeinzGuderian

    Chrissy………………your as well raving here,as in your bed mate !!! 😉

  • Brian


    too much to drink?

    Go back and read again, Rory (or as you call him, Roy) did not say it had nothing to do with religion. He correctly identified the role of religion in the killing, as in others.

  • between the bridges

    RC ‘sectarian murder all right but not a religious one..’ glad we cleared that one up!!

  • Catholics were not killed at random. There was metgod to the madness. If Mr Fusco had any republican connections, he was probably singled out by the security forces.
    Given the paucity of Fuscos in Belfast, the prior attacks on Italians and the strange Stakeknife affair, there might be more to Mr Fusco’s murder than we imagine.

    Now back to Chisty XXXXX

  • Alanmaskey Mr Brush was in the UDR which had close working links with people like Clark –the UDR single victims out and Loyalists killed them. The overwhelming majority of victims were unquestionably innocent –as was the murdered Mr Fusco whom you are trying to convict.

    Loyalist paramilitaries have made rather lame appology for killing innocent catholics —they say they were only as good as the intelligence the security forces passed to them

    In this instance there is good possibility that security forces killed him –the existance of fingerprint evidence had been recovered at the time mean the security forces and the PPS ensured that a killer escaped to most likely kill again.

    But innocent catholics being murdered by scum like clark is something that you are desperately trying to get off topic in this blogg —what do you fear discussing such stuff???

  • Alanmaskey lets now get back on topic The question of fingerprints –no new technology makes fingerprint suddenly appear –they were collected on 3rd February 1973 and never used to convict a killer until now!!

  • anne warren

    Christy asked “what do you fear discussing such stuff???”
    I don’t know what the reticence is due to. Fear, shame, arrogance, mindless bigotry (you don’t count and we don’t care), whatever else.
    I do think the Protestant community has to come to terms with the sectarian murders that were carried out in its name by some (many?) of its members and decide on a policy of never again.
    Compliments to Turgon on a well-balanced opening post

  • Mark

    Cuts both ways Anne …

  • Brian

    “Catholics were not killed at random.”

    Many Catholics, especially in the 70s, were absolutely killed at random. They are were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I don’t think the Shankhill butchers, for example, were too discriminate in their killings. I think they even killed a Protestant by mistake.

  • andnowwhat

    I looked up forensic finger printing on the net assuming it was developed in thed 60’s or there abouts. Turns out it is much older than that.

    I agree with Anne. No matter what I think of Turgon’s politics he is always fair consistant and balanced.

    Regarding the shady hinting that Mr Fusco must have been up to something (is this not legally questionable?) was Michale Mc Goldrick, Gavin Brett etc. etc. up to something then?

    I’m old enough to remember the false statements by loyalists regarding many victims. I also remember the lackluster condemnation by unionist politicians in the media at the time.

    I know that my mind does not work properly regarding issues of the conflict (it visited me on more than a few occassions even though I had know interest in it) and thus appreciate that the same is true of many others. What I now do is think about things at least twice. Maybe some here should do the same.

  • anne warren

    it does, mark. It does indeed. I was actually thinking that when I wrote that post. But I come up against a big stumbling block.

    Motivation – which Christy was getting at.

    However much we deplore and condemn the PIRA bombing campaign, we have to admit there were genuine grievances and abuses of human rights in NI pre-1969. And, as admitted in the GFA, the aspiration towards a United Ireland is a legitimate political aspiration. So there was a political background, however much people may not want to admit it, to the PIRA violence.
    On the other hand, the aspiration to remain part of the UK is NOT a legitimate political aspiration because we ARE part of the UK. Protestant paramilitaries, however fired by hell and brimstone preachers and the intransigeant mindsets of men in power, had no reason to exist and no role to play.
    It was up to the British Government and their security forces to deal with the grievances of people in NI.

    The spree of sectarian murders by members of the Protestant community can only be explained by extreme intolerance of anyone professing a different religion.
    In my view the people who committed the murders and those who supported the murderers need to look long and hard at what exactly they were doing and why.
    I am well aware mine is not an “accepted” point of view but it is a valid analysis.

  • Driftwood

    What I do not accept is that somehow Clarke himself was, as you say, “religiously inspired”. Which religious belief inspired him do you think? Which church? Which minister?

    OK Rory, I think we all know certain dog collars (of the 2 main Xian sects) who inspired violence or were , to put it mildly, ambiguous about it. 1 name in particular comes to mind in terms of rabble rousing ‘Protestant’ murders of Roman catholics.

    Not too many humanist evolutionary biologists were doing the murdering. Can you think of one? Just the one?

    As for the Army, I think many squaddies were genuinely apalled at the sectarian hatred here and tried to make the best of an impossible job keeping the two christian sects from mass murder of one another.

  • Mark

    Anne ,

    I have to tell you that I would have green views about the whole thing . The British Govt ran most of those protestant groups you talk off and aren’t going to start talking now ….

    In relation to the UK is not a legitimate etc … there is a new young protestant community which whether we like it or not .. are set in their ways and feel right at home here and fair play to the them . If I’ve learned anything reading slugger .. that is it …

  • Zig70

    Anne, you are forgetting the local element of protecting your own home (Loyalist areas) from attack. Surely that is a legitimate aspiration

  • andnowwhat

    What was the tactic of murdering taxi drivers from City Cabs then Alex Maskey?

    What was the tactic of murdering protestants who they thought were catholics (I’m thinking of the lady who was tortured and murdered in the old laundry at the top od the Donegal Road. Not proud that I cannot remember her name)?

    Like it or not Turgon has loyalist motives down to a tee.

    AS for Driftwoods comments I sense that he is alluding to a “protestant” minister who castigted the people of the Shankhill for allowing an Italian family to have a shop on the road.

    Religion here is (as in many parts of the world) a matter of ethnicity. One could quite easily be a union supporting athiest crossing from the Falls to the Lisburn Rd. and still be attacked (it happend to me while out running) because of where one lives or one’s name. This is a disease of the enclaves where some think Belfast ends at Castle St and others that it ends at the Albert bridge. Meanwhile in the city centre, both sides are drinking dancing and fucking together without regard

  • AlanMaskey if you wish to consistently go of topic to about cain and able then lets thrash out who the relatives were of those innocents who lost their lives in the Shankill bombing, Enniskillen, Darkly and after we do the fact will remain that they were innocent so stop trying to justify Mr Fusco’s murder by some kind of weird assoiciation scheme you are about.

  • andnowwhat

    @ Alan Maskey

    I have relatives who were in the provisional IRA the official IRA, the RUC and the UDR. Who would you say would be justified in shooting me?

  • Mark

    Christmas dinner must have been good craic …

  • andnowwhat

    Nah Mark it was the weddings that were fun.

    Thankfully we never played What’s My Line at parties

  • Mark


    If my cousin was a jogger ( sorry fiz ) . I’d want to put one in him as well ……

    only kidding ……….

  • Mark

    typo – sorry fitz…( about the match as well )

  • andnowwhat

    Now you’ve gone and done it Mark……..call me a taig a fenian a mick but not a jogger…I ran not jogged

    No offence taken though.

    BTW, can we safely assume that Alan Maskey is trolling here?

  • Mark

    There’s a new more high tech version now ….

  • Mark

    Nice to see you back again as well man …

  • andnowwhat

    @ Mark

    Do you mean me?

  • Mark

    Shit , you’ve embarrassed me now , should I not mean you ?

  • Mark

    I don’t fancy you now or anything … jaysus … but didn’t we get red carded over the Tabernackle Rave thread with the Word .

  • Can you two love birds take this reunion some place private 😉

  • Mark

    I know ……. where were we ? peru I think with alan

  • Mark

    Sorry Git …

  • Mark

    Christy , you know I wasn’t calling you a ” git ” . Chris / Christy is Git in Dublin …… I’m sure you know ( all the yellow cards have me bleedin paranoid )

  • Mark, no AlanMaskey is peruvian and he’s related to Robert James Clark who has just been convicted of murdering an innocent man.

  • andnowwhat

    Lord above…..I’m a fully paid up bloke.

    Peru you say? I always knew those bloody pan pipes were weapons. That’s why they have that thin tone they’re full of semtex.

  • Mark –hey we can all say things we regret later when you are in the heat of the moment –sorry to have poured that cold bucket of water over you –but the text was becoming graphic.

  • andnowwhat

    Damn it…I got a red card straight off. No yellow at all.

  • Mark

    andnowwhat ,

    Ther have been a spate recently ….

    No worries Christy ………..

  • Playing footsie under the table is not a flagable offence in my book –nought to do with me.

  • between the bridges

    anne after reading all that i think i owe a huge heart of bottom thanks to all the far side of the fence foot shoulders for not popping a few more of usone’s off! seeing as it was all so justifiable… one side wasn’t ‘deplorable but justified’ and another ‘just deplorable’… but sure whatever bit off justifiable wahtaboutry floats your boat