THE Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland has concluded that the conduct of police officers involved in the investigation into the murder of Trillick councillor, Patsy Kelly, nearly fifty years ago amounted to collusion.
In a major report which was published this week, Marie Anderson, pointed to the ‘deliberate withholding’ of intelligence from the murder investigation team, and the failure to act on intelligence about an active UVF unit in the Fermanagh area.
Mr Kelly was abducted and murdered after closing the family public house in Trillick in July 1974.
Members of the Kelly family were accompanied by West Tyrone Sinn Fein MLA, Orfhlaith Begley, Trillick-based Sinn Fein councillor, Stephen McCann, and the family solicitor, Adrian O’Kane of Pat Fahy and Company Solicitors when they met with the Ombudsman on Wednesday morning.
In her conclusion to the report, the Ombudsman said the Kelly family had been ‘failed by the police.’
She added that the family’s complaints about investigative failings are ‘legitimate and justified’ in a number of respects.
She found that a ‘latent’ bias on the part of a police officer, the failure to adequately verify the alibis of UDR members and a failure to record detailed witness statements.
There was also, according to the report, a failure to link cases, to make enquiries about an anonymous letter and forensic failings including the failure to make enquiries about footwear marks, a failure to recover the boat at Lough Eyes and no record of fingerprint enquiries.
“The investigastive findings were, in my view, significant missed opportunities, which involved obvious lines of enquiry. I am mindful that this investigation did not meet the standards of an effective investigation,” she added.
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