Fresh insult for Ormeau massacre victim


A man injured in a massacre by a unionist death squad has been dismayed by a decision that two members of the Crown Forces who falsely arrested him while commemorating victims of the massacre will not be prosecuted.

Five people were killed and several others were injured in the 1992 gun attack on the Ormeau Road in Belfast in which British state collusion is alleged.

Mark Sykes was led away in handcuffs after he and some relatives of the victims gathered at the former site of Sean Graham’s bookmakers in February to mark the 29th anniversary of the atrocity.

The violent police operation was seen as a political attack on a nationalist victims’ support group and gained international headlines.

Footage posted online at the time showed Mr Sykes holding a bag containing floral tributes before he was hauled away. He was taken to Musgrave PSNI barracks before being released, but has yet to be told whether he faces prosecution arising from the incident.

Mr Sykes has said he is “upset and distressed” at the decision not to prosecute the police who assaulted and detained him.

“This occurred on the most sensitive day in our year, the anniversary of the murder of our loved ones,” he said. “It was crystal clear on the day that there was no ‘event’ but rather, bereaved relatives were laying flowers to mark the anniversary.”

Mr Sykes has also recently received news that MI5 and other Crown Force agencies may have been provided with an official report into the atrocity months before victims as part of a new cover-up.

A report by the Police Ombudsman was expected to be published in autumn but has been stalled by the PSNI.

Relatives of those killed believe that several British state agencies have already been handed a copy of the report, including MI5 and PSNI Special Branch units.

The investigation examined a series of attacks which resulted in the murders of 12 people and one attempted murder.

The PSNI admitted it had sought secrecy orders in correspondence with the Police Ombudsman’s office, reportedly due to the role of state agents and informers.

PSNI Chief Simon Byrne last month admitted that “various parties” would have an interest” in censoring the report, without providing details.

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