Northern Ireland news

Robert McCartney sister hits out at 'superficial' Police Ombudsman report

Murder victim Robert McCartney was killed in 2005

A SISTER of murder victim Robert McCartney has hit out at a "superficial" Police Ombudsman probe into the PSNI's handling of the case.

Mr McCartney, a 33-year-old father-of-two, was stabbed to death outside Magennis's bar near his home in the Markets area of Belfast in January 2005.

The murder caused a political crisis after the IRA was accused of covering up the alleged involvement of its members.

Catherine McCartney, one of the murder victim's sisters, made an official complaint to the ombudsman on behalf of her family after they became concerned by the quality and depth of evidence presented during the 2008 trial of three men charged in connection with the death.

Read More: Nobody was protected in the probe into the killing of Robert McCartney, says Police Ombudsman

The men were all acquitted.

The ombudsman report, which was given to the McCartney family yesterday, found that police did not attempt to protect anyone as part of their investigation.

The ombudsman's office said: "The police investigation of events that night was complex, with what can best be described as some unique obstacles, including a reluctance by some witnesses to give evidence and concerns about the credibility of others.

"The detectives sought to work around these problems. Their investigation was detailed and comprehensive and resulted in three people facing trial."

Ms McCartney said last night the report contained "no new information".

Read More:

"We don't accept the findings of the report at all," she said.

"In terms of the overall statement it doesn't give much depth. This report has been nine years in the making. It doesn't clarify anything for us as a family.

"It doesn't clarify on what grounds it arrived at the findings.

"There is nothing in it which we didn't already know."

Ms McCartney said the report did not go into detail about specific complaints she raised, including the length of time it took to arrest a key suspect and the police's handling of an identity parade.

"It does recognise that there were unique obstacles and complexities (in the case) but it doesn't explain what they were," she said.

She added: "We as a family wanted closure".

Ms McCartney said the family is now considering what next steps to take.

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