25 March 2006

Murder probe criticism

Daily Ireland

Jarlath Kearney

The father of an Ulster Volunteer Force murder victim has criticised senior PSNI members linked to the original investigation into his son’s killing.
Paul McIlwaine last night renewed his criticism of the PSNI’s original probe into the murder of his son David and of Andrew Robb in Tandragee, Co Armagh, in 2000.
The murders are believed to have been carried out by the UVF, although the organisation has denied the killings.
Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan is investigating serious complaints relating to the original PSNI investigation, which failed to secure prosecution of the killers.
Two weeks ago, Daily Ireland revealed that the PSNI had destroyed evidence that could have implicated a senior UVF member in Co Armagh in targeting Catholics.
The evidence consisted of a marked electoral register. The register was recovered in original follow-up searches after the murders in 2000. It is alleged the senior UVF member linked to the hit list was a Special Branch agent.
The PSNI declined to comment on Daily Ireland’s revelations because the Police Ombudsman was examining the original investigation.
Other significant evidence related directly to the murders, including DNA evidence, only emerged recently following the appointment of a new senior investigating officer last autumn.
Sinn Féin policing spokesman Gerry Kelly yesterday raised the McIlwaine and Robb case in a meeting with Nuala O’Loan.
Mr Kelly highlighted concerns over her investigations into the 1997 killing of Raymond McCord Jr by the UVF in north Belfast and the shooting dead of Neil McConville by a specialist PSNI unit in north Armagh in 2003.
He said: “The ombudsman confirmed that her investigations into these controversial cases were ongoing and that, in particular, she intended to meet once again with the McIlwaine and Robb families to discuss further revelations concerning the role of a Special Branch agent in the killings and the role of a number of PSNI members in the subsequent investigation.
“In relation to the issue of the British government planning to give MI5 primacy over intelligence gathering in the North, I made it clear to the ombudsman our firm belief that the role of British securocrats in the Six Counties needs to be ended.
“This engagement is the latest in a series of meetings we have held with the Police Ombudsman,” Mr Kelly said.

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