1976: UDR men jailed for Showband killings
Two men from the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) have each been jailed for 35 years in connection with the murders of members of the Miami Showband.
The UDR soldiers were members of the outlawed paramilitary organisation the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).
Imposing the longest life sentences in Northern Ireland history, the judge said "killings like the Miami Showband must be stopped."
Thomas Raymond Crozier and Rodney Shane McDowell, both from Lurgan, Co Armagh, were sentenced for their part in a UVF ambush when three members of the cabaret band were shot dead.
Players were returning from a gig in Belfast in July 1975 when their minibus was flagged down near Newry at what appeared to be a military roadblock.
Two terrorists were killed by their own bomb as they tried to plant it in the back of the band's van. Three of the players were then summarily executed.
Police said they were dismayed that the gang of UVF militants had also been locally recruited into the British Army's UDR.
In court the judge said the death penalty would have been imposed had it not been recently abolished.
"A few years ago the question of mere imprisonment would not have arisen."
He said he was imposing more severe sentences because lesser penalties had had little effect.
Speaking from Dublin about how the ordeal affected him, a surviving band member, Des 'Lee' McAlea, said he would not be returning to Northern Ireland.
"Life goes on and I have to make my own life now unfortunately...Our happiest days playing in the band were in Northern Ireland."
But he added: "Sometime in the future if the situation in Northern Ireland should get better, we could sit down and talk about going back."
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