A PSNI Special Branch agent was involved in the brutal assassination of a Belfast man outside a school in the North of Ireland, an inquest heard today.
The June 2004 death of Kevin McAlorum near Belfast could have been avoided, his family has claimed. The case bears similarities to the killing of loyalist Raymond McCord, which led to the exposure of extensive collusion between British Crown forces and a unionist paramilitary death-squad in north Belfast.
The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) were thought to be behind the attack as part of a lingering feud within the organisation dating from the death of its former leader, Gino Gallagher, in 1996. However, the INLA never claimed the attack.
Lawyer Sean Patterson told the adjourned Belfast hearing that the victim’s brother, Brian McGuinness, had raised serious concerns with him.
“An intelligence report held by the police shows that this matter was avoidable and it is his understanding that this would show the involvement of an informer he believes to be protected or known by Special Branch,” he said.
The former PSNI investigating officer, denied any knowledge of the intelligence dossier.
“We’ve told the PSNI who killed Kevin and where he is living and working in Dublin and the alias he is living under,” said Mr McGuinness.
“Despite everything that we’ve told police they’ve consistently refused to ask the gardai to even arrest or question him. We want to know why.”
He said the family had been told by “reliable sources” that the man had been a police informer since 1993.
“He has been openly named in court as having murdered another man but hasn’t been questioned about this either,” he said.
“The police ombudsman has confirmed in writing to us that he is regarded as one of the PSNI’s main suspects in Kevin’s murder.
“But every time we ask the PSNI to have the gardai arrest him we’re told that it’s all tied up in red tape.
“We find this very hard to believe as there have been a number of high-profile cases in recent years in which people have committed murders in Northern Ireland and been arrested and questioned in the Republic.”
Mr McGuinness also revealed his belief that his brother was killed after the PSNI had made arrests in a drugs case based on a tip-off from a man known to his brother.
“It was obvious that someone had touted on it and Kevin believed this guy was the tout.
“We believe this individual killed Kevin to protect himself from being identified as the informer.”
The dead man’s family say they initially believed the killers would be brought to justice.
“There were so many witnesses and so much potential forensic evidence in the van the killers left behind at the scene,” Mr McGuinness said.
“They left behind a mobile phone and a hat and a petrol bomb they were supposed to use to burn the van.
“Surely there must have been some forensic evidence in that van.
“The police also have a photofit which is said to bear a striking resemblance to the man we identified as the killer.
“When we asked the police why they won’t release the photofit they told us that it was orders from above.
“All we want to know is why this man is not being questioned when he is one of the main suspects.”
Relatives for Justice victims’ group spokesman Mark Thompson backed the dead man’s family’s call.
“Given the substantial allegations that persist in this case that one of the individuals involved in the killing is a police informer, it is only proper there should be full disclosure of police intelligence files to the coroner,” he said.