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Last Updated: Friday, 26 October 2007, 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK
Supergrass murder 'was grotesque'
Eamon Collins
Eamon Collins refused to be intimidated from his home
The murder of a former IRA supergrass has been described by a coroner as one of the most brutal he has ever seen.

The inquest heard Eamon Collins's body was found with severe head injuries at Doran's Hill, Newry, in 1999.

Coroner John Leckey and State Pathologist Jack Crane agreed it was one of the most brutal, horrific and grotesque murders they had encountered.

Mr Collins had received numerous death threats from the IRA but refused to move from his home.

Mr Leckey said he hoped the "sub-human thugs who carried out the murder" would be caught, charged and given the appropriate sentence.

It was one of the most horrific murders in almost 30 years that I have seen
Retired Detective Chief Inspector Kenneth McFarland

Retired detective chief inspector Kenneth McFarland, who led the investigation into the killing, said: "I believe south Armagh Provisional IRA carried out this murder.

"It was one of the most horrific murders in almost 30 years that I have seen."

A member the Historical Enquiries Team told the court the case was being re-examined.

Mr Collins turned supergrass after he was arrested by the RUC in 1985.

More than 40 suspects were detained but most were released after his change of heart under pressure from his family.

He was later charged with 50 terrorist offences including five murders and membership of the IRA but walked free from Belfast Crown Court after the judge dismissed his alleged confessions.

Eamon Collins rose to prominence after the publication of his book, Killing Rage, and wrote numerous articles for national newspapers.

In his book, he described how an undercover British Army officer was tortured and murdered in 1977 and how his body was disposed of in a meat mincer.

He said he was told the details while he was on the run in the early 1980s.

Police examine the scene of the murder

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