04 December 2005

O'Loan set to publish report into McConville shooting

Sunday Business Post

""Via Newshound

04 December 2005
By Paul T Colgan

The North's Police Ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan, is about to publish the first report on the shooting dead of a Catholic man by members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

The killing of 21-year-old Neil McConville in Ballinderry, Co Antrim, in 2003 was the first police-inflicted casualty in the North since the reform of the RUC. The Sunday Business Post has learned that O'Loan has finalised her report into the incident and that its publication is imminent.

The report is likely to prove controversial regardless of its findings. McConville's family have claimed that the shooting bore all the hallmarks of a “shoot-to-kill'‘ policy. This is denied by the PSNI.

On April 29, 2003, a PSNI unit rammed McConville's car and then fired into the vehicle, killing McConville and wounding his passenger, David Somers. Neither man was armed, but Somers was later charged with possession of a sawn-off shotgun that was found concealed in the car.

The incident was the first involving the use of lethal force by the police since the shooting of Pearse Jordan in 1992.

Human rights groups have questioned why the PSNI did not arrest McConville. The PSNI claims that McConville's car was forced up onto an embankment by a PSNI vehicle, and then rolled backwards and struck a PSNI officer - leading to an opening of fire.

McConville was shot twice in the arm and once in the chest and Somers was shot twice in his left arm.

The PSNI also claims that the car had earlier refused to stop at a police checkpoint.

McConville's family have alleged that there was a surveillance operation involving PSNI officers and a British army helicopter prior to the killing.

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