04 April 2006

Ombudsman's probe 'will blow lid off UVF collusion'

Belfast Telegraph

By David Gordon
04 April 2006

The Police Ombudsman's office is finalising an explosive report on alleged state collusion with UVF terrorists.

And the grieving father who triggered the probe has predicted that it will lead to members of the security forces appearing in the dock.

Raymond McCord complained to Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan four years ago about the police inquiry into his son's 1997 murder. A major investigation was then launched into his allegation that 22-year-old Raymond Jnr was killed on the orders of a Special Branch informer within the north Belfast UVF.

It is understood that Mrs O'Loan's report on her findings is now being drawn up. Publication is expected before the summer.

It is widely expected to be the Ombudsman's most high-profile report since her review of the Omagh bomb inquiry.

Its release has been held up in recent months while Mrs O'Loan awaited guidance from the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

The PPS's involvement has led to speculation that the report may recommend criminal proceedings against past or present members of the security forces.

Mr McCord last night said: "I am confident that the Ombudsman will get to the truth. Her report will be very embarrassing to the police and the UVF leadership.

"I believe people will end up in the dock - both from the UVF and the security forces."

Raymond McCord Jnr was beaten to death in November 1997. His body was dumped in Ballyduff quarry in Newtownabbey.

Mr McCord was meanwhile due to meet today with the US Consul General in Belfast Dean Pittman.

He said: "I will be discussing my case with him. Reports on my son's murder have also been circulated to senior politicians in Washington."

Mr McCord has met politicians in Belfast and Dublin for talks. "The only people who have yet to meet me are the DUP," he said.

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