Sunday Life

**Remember the details of this story when Barrett applies for early release

Poyntzpass killers cry foul

19 September 2004

TWO LVF killers - serving life for a notorious double murder - are poised to take legal action if UFF hitman Ken Barrett is granted early release.

Barrett, 41, who pleaded guilty last week to the 1989 murder of solicitor Pat Finucane, is expected to be freed within months, even though he was ordered to serve a minimum of 22 years.

The ex-police informer is expected to apply to the Life Sentence Review Body for early release, under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

But if he succeeds, LVF killers Stephen McClean and Noel McCready - who have been refused early release - say they will mount a High Court action.

The pair were jailed on a series of terror charges, including the chilling double murder of friends, Philip Allen, 34, and Damien Trainor, 25, in Poyntzpass, in March, 1998.

McClean and McCready have been told they do not qualify for early release, because the Government does not recognise the LVF ceasefire.

The killings took place just weeks before the signing of the Belfast Agreement.

But in October 2001, the then Secretary of State, John Reid declared the ceasefires of both the UDA/UFF and the LVF to be over, and 're-specified' both groups.

It meant that a convicted prisoner would not benefit from the generous remission on sentences, laid down in the Agreement.

Last night, a family source said both McClean and McCready would seek a judicial review of the NIO decision to keep them in Maghaberry, should Ken Barrett be released from prison.

"The NIO has cited the non-recognition of the LVF ceasefire as the reason not to release Noel McCready and Stephen McClean," said the family member.

"However, they haven't recognised the UDA ceasefire since October 2001, so how can Barrett qualify for early release?"

It is understood the LVF prisoners have instructed their legal teams to take action in the Belfast High Court if UFF gunman Barrett is freed within months.

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