Published Monday, 27 January 2014
Eamon Collins, 45, was beaten and stabbed beyond recognition on a country road in 1999 just outside Newry a short distance from his home in a suspected revenge attack for turning supergrass.
Collins was deliberately struck by a car while out for an early morning walk with his dogs on Doran's Hill before being beaten and stabbed numerous times in the face and head.
The father-of-four had received repeated death threats from republicans and it is believed Provisional IRA members from south Armagh murdered him.
Police said they have a DNA profile from the crime scene but issued a renewed appeal for information about the car used in the attack, a white Hyundai Pony, and a hunting knife, part of which was also recovered from the scene.
Detective Inspector Peter Montgomery, of the PSNI's serious crime branch, said: "Eamon Collins had a well-publicised past but he was a husband and a father and his life was taken in the most brutal and barbaric manner.
"We have a DNA profile from the scene so we are not without hope that one of the killer gang will be identified through the course of police inquiries.
It is 15 years since Eamon Collins was murdered. Much has happened in the intervening years in terms of politics, policing and allegiances.
Detective Inspector Peter Montgomery
"I would ask those with information about Mr Collins' murder, particularly those in the Barcroft estate, to think again about the awfulness of what happened and about his family. It is never too late to come forward."
Collins turned supergrass after being arrested by police in 1985 but relented and retracted his statements under pressure from his family.
He was subsequently charged with five murders and dozens of terrorist offences but was not convicted and returned to live in Newry in the staunchly republican Barcroft Estate.
In 1997, Collins wrote a devastating expose of the IRA, Killing Rage, based on his life as a terrorist.
He described the torture and murder of an undercover British Army officer in 1977 and how his body was horrifically disposed of.
Collins also wrote and featured in numerous articles for national newspapers.
Coroner John Leckey, at the inquest into Collins' death, said his murder was one of the most brutal, horrific and grotesque they had encountered.
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