19 December 2005

PSNI slammed for handling of case


Sister calls for closure on murder

By Evan Short

The sister of a man who was beaten to death six years ago has slammed the PSNI for their handling of the case on the anniversary of the brutal attack.

Michael McParland was found dead on his bed on December 18, 1999, after having been hit with a blunt object on the back of his head.

The killer or killers had also set fire to the house to try and cover their tracks but a family friend broke the door down and retrieved the body.

Michael’s sister Eileen Ainslie, who has campaigned tirelessly to bring the killers of Michael to justice, said that after some initial interest in her brother’s case, both the RUC and PSNI stopped contacting her.

She believes that because Michael had had problems with alcohol, the PSNI do not see his death as a priority.

"Michael wasn’t a nice person with drink in him but he didn’t deserve to be murdered.

"I know he wasn’t Mr Perfect but I still don’t think that just because of that it should be swept under the carpet."

From the beginning of the investigation Eileen says she received very little support.

"The police were investigating the murder and there was one particular policeman that did keep in contact with me but then he retired, and after that the investigation died a death.

"Coming up to Michael’s first anniversary I was very frustrated because it felt like any time I contacted the police or heard something, or gave them any information it wasn’t acted on.

"The Andersonstown News then ran a story and within a few days the police were in touch with me saying they were going to do a house-to-house enquiry and a leaflet drop. I felt they only did this because I had gone to the Andersonstown News. The publicity spurred them into doing something but if I hadn’t have approached the paper they wouldn’t have done anything."

Just when it seemed like Eileen was making progress things once again ground to a halt.

"I thought something would have come of this but every time I would ring them the attitude seemed to be that because Michael was an alcoholic, the case wasn’t as important.

"Whenever I ring up they say the people who have information are alcoholics and they can’t get anything out of them, but I told them that just because someone has a drink problem, it does not mean they are stupid.

"The other thing is sometimes these guys go into detox and that is maybe the time to question them.

"I knew that a particular fella who knows something was in the hospital and when I found out he had been in three weeks and was sober I rang the police and I told them where he was and it would be a good time to ask questions.

"They waited for a fortnight before the went to interview him and by that time he was back home."

Disheartened by the lack of interest, Eileen stopped phoning the PSNI on a regular basis but coming up to the sixth anniversary she again decided to see if they had progressed any further with their investigations. The response she got she says is typical of the PSNI handling of the case.

"I rang the police a few weeks back to be told the police investigator who was dealing with my case had left the job.

"I was shocked and asked them if that meant my brother’s murder case was closed and the policeman on the phone said he was not saying that, but asked me to give him the details and he would be back in the next week.

"That was six weeks ago and I have heard nothing and, to be honest, I haven’t phoned back because I am just disgusted."

A PSNI spokesperson declined to comment.

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