No inquest means no justice
No inquest means no justice


The family of a County Tyrone councillor who is believed to have been murdered by British soldiers in July 1974 have said “there is no British justice” after receiving the “devastating and shattering” news that there will likely be no fresh inquest into his murder.

They said that “49 years of campaigning for truth has, for now, been halted in one judicial ruling”.

Patsy Kelly, a 35-year-old independent nationalist councillor, was abducted and murdered on his way home to his wife and young family, just outside the village of Trillick. Those responsible are thought to have been locally recruited members of the British Army’s paramilitary-style ‘Ulster Defence Regiment’.

No one has ever been charged or prosecuted over the murder. His family was “failed by police” at the time, a Police Ombudsman report previously found.

His family, who have been striving for the truth ever since his murder, said a “lack of resources” had been given as the reasoning behind the denial of a new inquest, despite their belief it could be completed within five days.

A High Court judge told them that “there are simply no resources available which would enable me, in my role as presiding coroner, to allocate responsibility for any of the remaining legacy inquests to coroners at the moment.”

He added: “Even if I were to do so, experience indicates it would be very difficult for an inquest to come to a conclusion prior to May 1 2024.”

He admitted “the disappointment, upset and anger” that this would cause to the families involved.

Speaking outside court, Theresa Kelly (pictured), who has been campaigning for 49 years for justice for her husband, said the development is “disappointing and shattering”.

“When it happened, I depended on police, thinking I would get justice for what has happened to Patsy,” she said.

“To be told this morning by a High Court judge that lack of resources probably means my family will never get an inquest was disappointing and shattering.

“My children and grandchildren have all grown up with this. In 50 years, nothing has changed. That is what the British state do.”

In a statement, they added that their legal team had “worked tirelessly to compile all necessary documentation in advance in order to prove that proceedings could have been finished within such a short timescale.

“Perhaps if we hadn’t had to fight tooth and nail through endless court cases and had to fight for decades to gain access to findings of investigations that were being hidden from us that these resources may have been available?

“Ultimately, the denial of truth and justice is the work of the morally corrupt British government who have enacted their Legacy Bill of Shame.

“We now look forward to the Irish government standing up for their citizens by taking their inter-state case against the rogue state of Britain to ensure that the Legacy Bill is scrapped.

“And we also look forward to continuing civil proceedings against the police - this fight is not over.

“But for now, the anger and devastation at this decision is absolutely overwhelming.

“It is worth remembering that in April of this year Marie Anderson, Police Ombudsman, found that the police investigation was wholly inadequate and indicative of collusion behaviour. This compelled the Attorney General to order a fresh inquest.

“For the British government to close the door is wrong and corrupt. But this is what the British state do.”

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