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PSNI JOIN NAIRAC GANG MEMBER MANHUNT IN U.S; Reporter confronts suspect in New York.

Byline: DAVID YOUNG

THE PSNI has joined forces with New York's police as a manhunt is launched to find a man wanted over the murder of soldier Robert Nairac, it emerged yesterday.

Patrick Maguire, 57, is suspected of being part of the gang involved in the torture and assassination of Army captain Nairac in an isolated field near the Irish border in 1977. His body has never been found.

Along with two other men, the South Armagh builder went on the run to America in the weeks after the killing. He has been tracked down to New York where he has set up home.

PSNI detectives are now liaising with their colleagues on the other side of the Atlantic over a reported sighting in a New Jersey suburb.

Maguire was confronted at his house by a journalist working for a daily newspaper. It was revealed in a report that he expressed regrets when challenged about the killing but said he would not be returning to Northern Ireland to face trial.

The father-of-four said: "There's nothing I can say about that night. Of course I have regrets about it... but I'm not going to say any more.

"I'm not going to go back into the past. And if the past catches up with me, then... There's nothing can change things now and I've told you I regret it but that's as far as I can go. Nothing can change it - it's 30-odd years ago."

PSNI sources said they are satisfied the man pictured in the paper is Maguire.

In the years after 29-year-old Grenadier Guardsman Nairac was killed, three men were convicted of his murder, but police said three other suspects evaded arrest after going on the run to the US.

One of those men - 59-year-old Kevin Crilly from Jonesborough, South Armagh - subsequently returned to Northern Ireland and, last month he was charged with the murder at Newry Magistrates Court.

Maguire and another suspect - republican Terry McCormick - continue to elude the authorities.

Capt Nairac, from Gloucestershire, was interrogated and then shot dead after being snatched from a pub car park near Jonesborough, South Armagh, and driven across the border to an isolated field at Ravensdale, Co Louth. He was posthumously awarded the George Cross for his bravery.

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said: "The investigation into Robert Nairac's murder is active and ongoing.

"One man is currently on remand charged with the murder and PSNI detectives are still working to locate and extradite at least two other suspects."

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 23, 2009
Words:421
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