07 March 2006

Murder evidence lay unused for six years

Belfast Telegraph

How did PSNI miss vital evidence over the horrific killing of two teenagers? Families of teen victims demand PSNI answers

By Chris Thornton
07 March 2006

THE SDLP has called on the PSNI to explain the reasons why important forensic evidence was undiscovered and unused for six years after the murders of two teenagers.

Upper Bann Assembly member Dolores Kelly said questions will be raised at the Policing Board about the investigation into the loyalist killing of David McIlwaine and Andrew Robb.

Police recently informed the families of the two victims that forensic evidence - including DNA evidence - linking a suspect to the murdered boys had turned up during a review. David McIlwaine's father Paul, who is due to meet detectives about the case today, has asked why the evidence was not acted upon sooner.

An initial review of the case by the Police Ombudsman found that detectives acted professionally, but Mr McIlwaine has asked for the case to be re-examined in light of the recent revelations.

Last November - before the new evidence came to light - two men were charged with murdering the teenagers outside Tandragee in February 2000. But prosecutors had concluded twice before that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a case.

Mrs Kelly, who met Mr McIlwaine at Stormont yesterday, said her party will ask the PSNI to explain why the evidence did not resolve the case six years ago.

"David McIlwaine and Andrew Robb were savagely butchered by the UVF," she said. "The family were assured that everything would be done to bring the killers to justice."

She said it was "good that the new senior investigating officer has come clean" but asked what police had been doing with the case for six years.

"The McIlwaine family have been put through hell and yet they have never given up on justice. They deserve the full truth and the PSNI must push ahead with prosecutions now.

"The SDLP will be raising this case at the Policing Board."

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