Northern Ireland news

Two men arrested over claims of crimes in Police Ombudsman's Office

Two men are to be reported to the Public Prosecution Service as part of a police probe into alleged crimes in the Police Ombudsman's Office

TWO men believed to be former Police Ombudsman investigators are to be reported to the Public Prosecution Service over the case of four Derry teenagers falsely accused of murdering a British soldier in 1979.

The men, aged 62 and 67, were arrested in England on Tuesday and brought to the north for questioning by the PSNI's serious crime branch.

They were arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office as part of a police probe into allegations of criminal activity in the Police Ombudsman's Office.

The police investigation is linked to an ombudsman's probe into alleged misconduct in the Derry Four case.

In 1979, four men from the city were falsely accused of murdering a British soldier.

Stephen Crumlish, Michael Toner, Gerry McGowan and Gerry Kelly were teenagers when they were accused of the Provisional IRA murder of Lieutenant Steven Kirby.

When it became clear that they would be convicted despite protesting their innocence, the four teenagers fled to the Republic.

They remained there for almost 20 years until all charges against them were dropped.

In 2012, the PPS ordered that two former RUC officers should be charged in connection with the case.

However, the case collapsed after the PPS offered no evidence.

The ombudsman then referred its handling of the case to the PSNI to investigate if any of its staff had broken the law.

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