By Anne Cadwallader
PORTADOWN — Two Protestant teenagers from Portadown, Co. Armagh, were beaten and stabbed to death on Saturday in a particularly sadistic attack which some are blaming on a leading north Belfast member of the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force.
The beaten bodies of Andrew Robb, 19, and David McElwaine, 18, were found mutilated and stabbed on a country road on Saturday morning. They had last been seen alive outside a Tandragee nightclub at 1.30 the same morning where they had been scuffles between rival groups.
The two youths’ teeth had been knocked in and they had multiple stab wounds to their upper bodies. Their throats had also been cut. The brutal nature of the killings were deeply shocking, and have been seen as an attempt to intimidate other loyalists in the area.
There had been warnings since the murder of leading UVF man, Richard Jameson, on January 10 that those held responsible, the Loyalist Volunteer Force, would be targeted in revenge. Loyalist sources said the UVF would "wipe out" the smaller, and more vicious, LVF.
The LVF is riddled with drug dealers and petty criminals for whom making money from criminal activities is at least as important as anything political, although they are also known for their sectarianism and hatred of Catholics.
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The Loyalist Volunteer Force issued a denial to a radio station that the victims of the double killing were "members or affiliated to the LVF". The group, which has been in conflict with the Ulster Volunteer Force since its formation in 1996, accused its rival group of carrying out the attack on the men.
At Robb’s funeral, a minister said his murder had caused untold heartache and grief to his family. The dead youth’s father made a tearful appeal on television for anyone who knew anything about the murder to come forward.
Although the RUC are actively discouraging the theory that the UVF was responsible for killing the two men, most mourners at the funeral believed that group was responsible.
Those arrested, and later released, after the murder were not held under anti-terrorist laws. There was speculation this was intended to lead away from the theory that the UVF was responsible, which could have prompted questioning about their nature of their cease-fire.
Two hundred mourners attended the short service that took place at the family’s home in the strongly loyalist Killycomaine estate in Portadown. They included most of the remaining LVF members in the town.
Also amongst the mourners were leading Shankill loyalists Johnnie "Mad Dog" Adair, John White and "Winkie" Dodds. A UVF man from the Mount Vernon area of north Belfast, known for his sadism, is chief suspect.