Nigel Lutton: Murder victim"s son to meet alleged IRA killer in election sparking double resignation

Murder victim's son to stand against his father's alleged IRA killer in by-election
Unionist Nigel Lutton to face Sinn Fein's Francie Molloy in by-electionMr Molloy was accused of helping the IRA murder Mr Lutton's fatherPolice reservist Frederick Lutton was shot dead in May 1979Mr Molloy strenuously denies the accusation

By
Steve Robson

PUBLISHED:

09:22 GMT, 16 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:04 GMT, 16 February 2013

A politician is set to fight an election against a man once accused of helping the IRA murder his father.

Nigel Lutton, a Northern Ireland Unionist, will run against Sinn Fein's Francie Molloy in what could prove to be a dramatic Westminster by-election campaign.

Mr Molloy has been publicly accused of being involved in the shooting of Mr Lutton's father Frederick.

Nigel Lutton

Francie Molloy

Contest: Nigel Lutton, left, will compete for a Westminster seat against Francie Molloy, right, a man once accused of helping the IRA murder his father in 1979

The 40-year-old former police reservist was gunned down by the IRA at the height of the Troubles in May 1979.

Mr Lutton, who was eight-years-old at the time of his father's murder, later said: 'They had assault rifles, really heavy-duty stuff – they just emptied high-velocity rounds into him'.

In 2007, Democratic Unionist MP David Simpson used parliamentary privilege in the House of Commons to name Mr Molloy as having been a suspect in the case and a police informant.

Mr Molloy has strenuously denied the accusations.

The decision by the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) to run a unionist unity candidate with the DUP sparked the resignation of two more members.

Basil McCrea and John McCallister stepped aside when the party decided to put forward Mr Lutton in the Mid-Ulster Westminster by-election on March 7 which has been vacated by the resignation of Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness last month.

Leader Mike Nesbitt said the departures were a matter of huge regret.

Mr McCrea said: 'This is not sour grapes; this is not self-interest, this is a principled stand to do what is right and it will be in the hands of the electorate and the electorate alone to decide if we have made the right call.'

Mr McCrea has been at odds with the UUP leadership and Mike Nesbitt for some time, having led a failed bid for the top position.

He criticised the party over its handling of issues linked to the Union flag dispute and faced a disciplinary panel earlier this year, which cautioned him about recent media comments.

He announced his resignation on the BBC's Nolan Show.

The Democratic Unionists and UUP said Mr Lutton received unanimous support.