Northern Ireland

Widow of man murdered by UVF in 1992 to challenge High Court decision

Kevin McKearney was shot dead by loyalists in Moy, Co Tyrone in 1992
Kevin McKearney was shot dead by loyalists in Moy, Co Tyrone in 1992

THE widow of a man murdered with his uncle by loyalist paramilitaries 25 years ago are to pursue a civil claim over an alleged failure to prosecute, her lawyer has said.

An attempt to have the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) added to a legal action over the killings of Kevin and Jack McKearney at their Co Tyrone butcher's shop was struck out at the High Court.

But a solicitor representing Kevin's widow Bernadette confirmed her intention to appeal the outcome.

Rosie Kinnear of KRW Law said: "We fully expected the decision and look forward to challenging the law as it stands.

"People cannot be allowed to get away with murder."

A UVF gunman shot the two men at the family shop in Moy in January 1992.

Kevin McKearney (32) was killed instantly, while his uncle Jack (70) died later in hospital.

The murders were investigated by the police Historical Enquiries Team amid relatives' claims that a death threat received by the family days before the shooting was not properly investigated by the RUC.

In 2012 the HET concluded that police had not done enough to prevent the killings, but found no evidence of collusion with the killers.

Mrs McKearney is now suing the Chief Constable and the Ministry of Defence (MoD), alleging misfeasance in public office over events surrounding the shooting.

Her legal team wanted to join the PPS to the lawsuit, claiming a failure to prosecute a key suspect.

However, Ms Kinnear said a Master sitting at the High Court struck out that claim after finding no case to answer.

With the cases against the PSNI and MoD continuing, efforts will now be made to have that decision overturned.