Category: Archive

Nelson slay suspect arrested

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

and Jack Holland

One of the suspects in the bombing death of Rosemary Nelson and the brother of a leading Portadown loyalist has been arrested in California after reports of shots being fired at the house where he was staying in Murrieta in Riverside County, Calif.

According to British and Irish officials and loyalist sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Jim Fulton, brother of Loyalist Volunteer Force chief Mark "Swinger" Fulton, was arrested after his wife and another woman allegedly discharged guns outside a house.

The couple’s two children, who were also in the house, were taken into care, several sources said.

According to one of the arresting officers in the Murrieta Police Department, on Dec. 16 officers responded to a call of shots fired at the residence where Fulton was staying. Inside the home they found at least a dozen small-caliber weapons and six ounces of hashish, the officer said.

Follow us on social media

Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo

A spokesman for the British consulate in Los Angeles confirmed that Fulton had been arrested by Riverside law enforcement officials. The Murrieta Police Department said Fulton was still being held in Riverside County Jail and was due to appear in court this week. He is being held on weapons and drug-possession charges, police said.

Police said that immigration officials have been made aware of Fulton’s arrest.

Loyalist sources said that Fulton had left for the U.S. last summer "supposedly on holiday." When he did not return, it created "a cloud of suspicion," according to this source.

Sources linked to the Ulster Volunteer Force, which has often been in conflict with the LVF, say that there is speculation that Fulton was on a drug-dealing mission. The LVF has frequently been accused of running drugs into Northern Ireland. It was formed in 1996 when Billy Wright, a leading UVF man in the North Armagh area, disagreed with the UVF’s involvement in the peace process.

The LVF has murdered more than a dozen Catholics before Wright was shot dead by the INLA. Jim Fulton’s brother Mark replaced Wright. Though the LVF declared a cease-fire, it is thought that it continues to operate under several different names.

Among the group’s victims was Rosemary Nelson, a leading human rights lawyer in Lurgan, who was killed in March last year when a bomb exploded under her car. She died three hours later.

Drawing comparison to the murder of another Northern Ireland human rights lawyer Pat Finucane, the nationalist community quickly called for an independent inquiry into Nelson’s death. The FBI joined an investigation that was headed by Norfolk’s chief constable, Colin Port, who was brought in to calm nationalist fears of the RUC investigating the murder.

One source said Port was unhappy that members of the RUC had reportedly leaked information linking Fulton to the Nelson inquiry.

An initial investigation into Nelson’s death followed the claim by a shadowy loyalist group, the Red Had Defenders, that it had carried out the attack.

But suspicion also fell on UDA and LVF elements opposed to the Good Friday peace agreement. Nelson, who worked mainly in Lurgan’s nationalist community, had received death threats before her murder.

A loyalist source also reported that Jim Fulton’s cousin Gary Fulton was recently acquitted of a firearms and drugs offense in England. Mark Fulton was arrested over a year ago after police found him intoxicated and in possession of a firearm.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese