The family of a man blown up by a booby-trap device which the British Crown forces allowed to remain hidden in a flat have said they had been victims of lies and evasion.
Eugene Sean Dalton died in August 1988 along with two friends when the device exploded in a flat in the Creggan area of Derry where he had gone to check on the whereabouts of a neighbour.
An inquiry by Police Ombudsman Michael Maguire confirmed that the PSNI police, then the RUC, failed to alert people in the area about their knowledge of the device, which was targeting an expected British Army search unit.
He said the RUC did not alert anybody about the threat at 38 Kildrum Gardens -- even though the area was declared out of bounds to officers.
Mr Dalton and Sheila Lewis were killed at the scene while Gerard Curran died seven months later from injuries sustained in the incident.
A report this week revealed that senior police refused to speak to the Ombudsman, and that there had been “a flawed investigation” into the bomb.
There have been frequent suggestions that the device was allowed to detonate to further a British security agenda, such as the protection of an informer.
Kay Devine said: “We have accepted the findings after 25 years of lies, deception and evasion. We feel vindicated that we have been listened to but there is no sense of jubilation.
“These findings are long overdue. Our brother Jim died two years ago and we feel saddened that he did not live to see this report.”
Dr Maguire said the RUC failed to protect the victims and the subsequent criminal investigation was inadequate and incomplete.
“Responsibility lies with the people who planted the bomb but the RUC are culpable as well. Today our focus is on our family’s case and we are just happy to know that we have been listened to,” Ms Devine said.
“It has been a long road but it is a road that we are starting to see some kind of ending with justice for our father.”
Sinn Fein said the party would not be making any comment until the report was made public.
Mr Dalton, a widower and father-of-six, Mrs Lewis, a widow, and Mr Curran went to the flat because they were concerned for their 32-year-old neighbour. Mr Dalton climbed through a kitchen window and was about to open the front door when the bomb went off. All three victims were Catholics.
The incident became known in Derry as the “Good Samaritan Bomb”. Their younger brother Martin Dalton, who was aged in his mid-twenties, narrowly escaped injury.
The PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie said that she found it “disappointing” that “a number of retired officers felt unable to engage” with the Police Ombudsman’s investigation.