Unanswered questions at McColgan inquest
Unanswered questions at McColgan inquest


Sinn Fein has said the PSNI and British government have questions to answer over the murder of Catholic man Danny McColgan.

The party’s north Belfast representative Gerry Kelly made the comments as senior coroner John Leckey delivered the findings of an inquest into his murder.

The 20-year-old was shot dead by the UDA as he arrived for work at a postal office in Rathcoole, on the outskirts of north Belfast, in January 2002.

The father of one was struck by at least 11 rounds after being ambushed by two masked gunmen as he arrived for work in the loyalist estate on the outskirts of north Belfast.

No-one has ever been charged in connection with his murder.

During the hearings it emerged that bullet casings collected from the murder scene had been “lost” by the PSNI and that one of the murder weapons, a stolen 9mm Beretta handgun, belonged to a member of the British Army’s Royal Irish Regiment.

It was also revealed that two bullets fired from the gun were obtained from the PSNI, who declared them “stolen”.

A second gun, a Browning-type pistol, is also believed to have been one of those provided to loyalists by British double-agent Brian Nelson.

In another shocking development, it also emerged that UDA member Stephen McCullough, who offered to provide information about the murder, was released from PSNI custody without being questioned.

Days later he was found dead at the foot of Cavehill in north Belfast, apparently murdered based on information passed to loyalists who “had someone inside Newtownabbey police station”.

A retired Special Branch officer linked to the McColgan investigation could face prosecution for conspiracy to murder, as part of a separate probe into the force’s handling of UVF agent Gary Haggarty.

Other dirty secrets may never be known: the PSNI and British government obtained a number of censorship orders on documents requested by the defence.

Coroner Leckey described the killing a “brutal sectarian murder” and said that he hoped “Daniel’s murderers will be held to account.” He said he was “incredulous” that casings from bullets used to kill Daniel were lost by the Crown forces.

The McColgan family lawyer Fearghal Shiels, of Madden & Finucane Solicitors, said they are now weighing up their legal options.

“These revelations have profoundly shocked the McColgan family, who will now study the evidence given throughout the inquest with their legal representatives before considering their next step,” he said.

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