Sam Marshall inquest opens
Sam Marshall inquest opens


An inquest has opened in Belfast into Crown Force collusion in the murder of Sam Marshall by unionist paramilitaries as he left an RUC police base in Lurgan in 1990.

Sam Marshall, a prominent republican activist, was under heavy British surveillance at the time of the attack on March 7 1990.

Mr Marshall’s family has previously expressed concerns of Crown Force involvement in the murder of the 31-year-old. They are hoping the inquest will give them answers they have been waiting three decades for.

On Monday, his brother spoke about the impact of his death. John Marshall told the opening of the inquest in Belfast that the murder “had a devastating effect” on his family.

“We see it as the only credible process whereby the full circumstances of Sam’s death can be properly investigated,” he said.

“Several thousand people attended Sam’s funeral on March 10,” he added. “This indicates the high regard he was held in within his local community.”

At the time of the shooting, Mr Marshall was with two other former republican prisoners who were injured in the attack – Colin Duffy and Tony McCaughey.

The court heard that Mr Duffy gave a statement after the shooting where he disclosed that himself and Mr Marshall would vary their routes to and from the RUC base.

Mr Duffy also said in his statement that they noticed a car driving past them several times and he believed this car to be a part of a surveillance operation being carried out by the RUC and the British Army.

A previous Historical Enquiries Team (HET) report found that a number of undercover British soldiers were deployed near the site of the shooting, with their commander monitoring from a remote location.

SDLP councillor Ciaran Toman welcomed the commencement of the inquest.

“Everyone in this area knows how long his family have been campaigning for this inquest which they see it as the only credible process whereby the full circumstances of Sam’s death can be properly investigated,” he said.

“The killing of Mr Marshall prompted a significant reaction in Lurgan and the local community have long supported the Marshall family in their quest for this inquest. It is clear that there are a number of unanswered questions around his death with a previous Historical Enquiries Team report uncovering new information.

“No family should have to go through such a long fight for truth and justice and I hope that this inquiry will give the Marshall family the answers they are looking for after all these years.”

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