Court action over controversial murder case
Court action over controversial murder case

A judicial review of the PSNI’s refusal to bring in an outside police force to investigate a controversial murder resumed yesterday at the High Court in Belfast.

Patsy Kelly, an independent nationalist councillor on Omagh District Council, was 33 years old when he disappeared after leaving the bar he managed in Trillick, County Tyrone to drive home on July 24 1974.

It is widely believed that the British Army’s UDR was involved in the murder of the father-of-five Tyrone man in 1974.

Since Mr Kelly’s death the case has been surrounded by claims that he was murdered by a “rogue” UDR patrol, that the RUC police botched the original investigation and that British Crown forces colluded to keep the killers out of jail.

The court action, brought by Mr Kelly’s wife Teresa, opened last September, two months after police launched a new investigation into the murder.

Seamus Treacy QC, appearing on behalf of Mrs Kelly, who was in court with her three sons, said there were “credible allegations of state collusion in the murder”.

“The family believe that members of the security forces were involved in Mr Kelly’s murder in 1974 and that there was a lack of proper investigation,” he said.

“There are so many criticisms of this case and the ongoing investigation, we submit that there is an unanswerable case that an outside police force be appointed.

“The police are failing to provide the family with what they are entitled to - an independent, effective investigation.”

Referring to a bootprint -- thought to have been made by army-issue footwear -- found at the roadside where Mr Kelly is thought to have been shot dead, Mr Treacy told the court that in 1974 no attempt was made to try and match the print to a particular boot.

“The explanation at that time was that the RUC had no suspicion of UDR soldiers,” he said.

“But in 1974 it was widely believed that the UDR was involved, to such an extent that the police conducted interviews with the UDR even before the body was found. There was a plaster-cast (of the print) but that has now disappeared.”

Paul Maguire, responding, said there was “nothing to support the view that police were complicit in the murder or that they covered it up to protect the security forces”.

Judgement was reserved.

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