17 June 2005

Daily Ireland

Ombudsman seizes radio tapes of fatal collision

by Ciarán Barnes

The Police Ombudsman has seized PSNI radio tapes as part of its investigation into a fatal collision involving a police Land Rover in west Belfast.
Jim McMenamin died after being hit by the police vehicle on the Springfield Road on June 4. Police officers in the vehicle claimed they were responding to an emergency call when they knocked over and killed the 29-year-old.
Ombudsman investigators are keen to learn if sirens can be heard during radio transmissions between police officers. It is standard procedure for PSNI vehicles to sound sirens when responding to emergency calls.
Details on who telephoned the emergency call, where the PSNI Land Rover was going and how fast it was travelling are also being probed by Nuala O’Loan’s office.
Earlier in the week the Police Ombudsman issued an appeal for information from the occupants of a taxi who may have witnessed the incident.
Daily Ireland understands the taxi stopped for a short time at the scene of the fatal collision.
However, it is not thought the taxi’s passengers were questioned by the PSNI at the time.
A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman said: “Investigators are carrying out a detailed forensic analysis of the police vehicle and have examined the scene of the incident.
“They have conducted extensive house-to-house enquiries in the area and are analysing relevant material provided by the PSNI.
“Investigators are particularly anxious to hear from the driver of a dark-coloured Volkswagen Passat taxi. We want the person to come forward as he or she may have information which will assist the enquiry.”
The spokesman said they also want to hear from anyone who saw a police Land Rover leave New Barnsley barracks before driving up the Springfield Road at around 1am on June 4.
The McMenamin family were too upset to speak about the circumstances surrounding their relative’s death.
They urged anyone with any information on the crash to contact the Police Ombudsman.

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