Fresh revelations in the murder of nationalist councillor Patsy Kelly have called into question all previous investigations into the killing.
Mr Kelly, a 33-year-old father of five, was abducted and murdered as he travelled home from the bar he was running in the County Tyrone village of Trillick in July 1974.
Shortly after being stopped by a patrol of locally-recruited British Army soldiers (UDR), the independent councillor was shot dead, his body weighed down and dumped into a lough.
His remains were finally discovered the following month. No-one has ever been brought to justice for the killing.
Mr Kelly’s murder was claimed by loyalists, but the family has repeatedly stated that they believe he was murdered by the British Crown forces who then engineered a cover-up.
It has now been revealed that ammunition connected to the discovery of the body was found in the lough, some of which matched the same calibre of bullet that was used to murder Mr Kelly.
This crucial evidence was withheld from the original inquest and also disappeared from subsequent police investigations by the RUC, the PSNI and the Historical Enquiries Team; as well as an ongoing investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s Office.
There are concerns that other evidence was also lost as a result of the failure to include this ammunition find in any public report.
Mr Kelly’s son Patsy, who took part in a new RTE radio documentary on the case, said, “This new information calls into question every single investigation that has been carried out by the police from 1974 to date into my father’s murder.
“How could such a vital piece of information have either been withheld or never been uncovered following so many alleged previous investigations?
“The fact that this information was never submitted to the original inquest throws yet another very sinister twist on the history of this case. We will continue to seek the truth about my father’s murder and it is simply disgraceful that the pain and anguish of our family is being compounded by continued inaction and cover-up by the authorities.”
Researcher Ciaran MacAirt, who uncovered the archive papers which document the ammunition find, said other papers are being withheld by the British Ministry of Defence and the British National Archives for reasons relating to ‘state security’.
The Kelly family solicitor, Pat Fahy added: “What other evidence which might point to the killers being connected to the security forces is still out there? The police and the British government must now come clean on what has all the appearances of a state-sponsored killing, and subsequent cover-up.”