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The Irish Daily Mail, 4 April 2006:
Ludlow was tragic victim of loyalist gang's blunder
Daily Mail Reporter
Slain forestry worker Seamus Ludlow was the victim of mistaken identity by a murder gang plotting to kill an IRA fugitive, it emerged yesterday.
The 47-year-old bachelor was executed by a four-man loyalist cell who were trawling Dundalk, Co Louth, for their republican target, Garda sources believe.
It is understood that - like Mr Ludlow - the man frequented pubs on the town's northside, lived on the Newry Road and often hitched lifts home. The two men were also of similar build.
Insiders say the loyalist gang was drinking in Portadown, Co Down, on the night of the May 1976 murder when they heard that a Garda checkpoint had been set up just south of the border in Omeath, Co Louth.
After driving to Omeath with the intention of ambushing gardai, they discovered that the checkpoint had been removed and they instead went to a local pub.
They then decided to search for the IRA man allegedly involved in the Kingsmill massacre, in which ten Protestants were killed in January 1976. After failing to find him, the gang members were returning home when they saw Mr Ludlow hitching a lift.
After inviting him into the car, the gang pulled up near Mr Ludlow's home on the pretext of letting two of the men out to go to the toilet..When the pair stepped out of the car, one of the gang then fired three shots at Mr Ludlow. His body was dumped in a ditch.
Last night a senior Garda source said: "A few days later, one of these men approached the RUC and told him what happened.
"This information was what was passed on a couple of years later to John Courtney."
Mr Courtney, a retired chief superintendent, has said that he was aware of the names of four suspects, but was not given permission to pursue the investigation.
Last month, Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy reopened the investigation into the murder after the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice criticised the original inquiry into mr Ludlow's death.
The committee called for an inquiry to be set up after it was revealed that four suspects identified by the RUC were never questioned by gardai. A senior officer will be appointed to look at all files relating to the case.
Last year a second inquest into Mr Ludlow's death returned a verdict of unlawful killing and revealed that in 1979 senior gardai knew the names of the alleged killers but did not arrest or question them until 1998.
Mr Ludlow's family say they believe the new probe is a 'stalling tactic'.
His nephew Jimmy Sharkey said: "In 1998 when the four men were arrested the gardai told us they could not be re-arrested unless there was fresh evidence to put to them.
"Under the Good Friday Agreement these boys would never serve a day in jail anyway. We still demand a sworn public inquiry into his murder," he added.
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See also similar report in The Irish Sun, 4 April 2006: 30-year murder mystery
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