Irish Republican News · January 17, 2015
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Cover-up investigation will not hear from RUC boss


An investigation into the destruction of evidence in a Crown force murder ambush has been announced just weeks after the reported death of the deputy head of the police Special Branch who was central to its destruction.

On Wednesday, the chief Crown Prosecutor in the Six Counties, Barra McGrory, announced that he had asked for a police investigation into the circumstances surrounding the destruction of evidence in the 1982 Crown forces killing of 17-year-old Michael Tighe and the wounding of Martin McCauley, then aged 19.

The PSNI has agreed to investigate whether the MI5 and the (then RUC) Special Branch colluded to falsify records and carry out the destruction of vital evidence.

The investigation is to concentrate on the role played by the former deputy head of Special Branch in the disappearance of a copy of a recording made inside a hayshed in Lurgan November 1982, where the shooting took place.

The hayshed had been under surveillance, but a recording of the incident was destroyed within 24 hours of the shooting, allegedly on his orders.

However, it is understood that the former RUC boss died in November following a lengthy illness, a fact which will greatly hamper any genuine investigation.

A second copy of the tape made by MI5 was kept secret during McCauley’s original trial and was also destroyed, two and a half years later.

The bugging operation was discovered when John Stalker, the former deputy chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, conducted his probe into allegations that the RUC was operating a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy of planned assassinations and ambushes.

McCauley successfully appealed his conviction last year. His lawyers said had the tape been presented in evidence it would have backed his claim that the RUC issued no warnings before opening fire.

It was also alleged during McCauley’s appeal that the deputy head of Special Branch also ordered monitor logs to be destroyed because of the “deep embarrassment” they might cause the force.

Sinn Fein’s John O’Dowd welcomed the launch of an investigation.

“They were two innocent young boys who were shot by the RUC in a hayshed in Armagh in 1982, with Michael Tighe being shot dead,” he said.

“It has already been made public that potential evidence was destroyed and facts surrounding the shooting concealed and it is absolutely right this is investigated further.

“As well as this case, the deaths of five other men who lost their lives in a series of shoot-to-kill operations carried out by the RUC in Armagh 1982 should also be properly investigated.

“More than three decades after these shootings the families are still waiting for truth and justice and this is unacceptable.”

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