Sean Graham massacre relatives settle legal action over 'state collusion' claims

The scene of the shooting at Sean Graham bookmakers in 1992.

Relatives of some of those killed and wounded in a mass shooting at a Belfast bookmakers have settled High Court actions over alleged state collusion in the atrocity, it emerged today.

Confidential resolutions were reached in a series of claims brought over the Sean Graham massacre.

Five people, including a 15-year-old boy, were murdered when an Ulster Freedom Fighters gunman opened fire inside the betting shop on the city’s lower Ormeau Road in February 1992.

Seven other customers were wounded in the sectarian attack.

A total of eight lawsuits had been issued against the Chief Constable, Ministry of Defence and British Government about the circumstances surrounding the shootings.

Victims and their relatives were seeking damages for alleged negligence and misfeasance in public office.

The civil actions involved claims that a rifle used in the atrocity was smuggled in from South Africa by a state agent.

It was contended that the authorities should have known the weapon was part of a shipment overseen by Brian Nelson, a loyalist paramilitary who worked for British intelligence.

Those claims were set to come under judicial scrutiny following stalled attempts at mediation.

A ten-day trial had been expected to begin at the High Court this week - coinciding with the thirtieth anniversary of the atrocity.

But it has now emerged that the actions were stayed on confidential terms.

A court order drawn up as part of the settlements also confirmed the plaintiffs’ costs are to be paid by at least one of the defendants.