Northern Ireland news

'Derry Four' accept PSNI pay-out

The 'Derry Four': Gerry McGowan, Stephen Kelly, Michael Toner and Stephen Crumlish
Connla Young

FOUR Derry men wrongly accused of killing a British soldier 40 years ago have accepted an out-of-court settlement from the PSNI.

The men, known as the 'Derry Four', were accused of the murder of Lieutenant Steven Kirby in February 1979.

Gerry Kelly, Gerry McGowan, Michael Toner and Stephen Crumlish were all aged 17 at the time.

They fled across the border when it became clear they were going to be convicted despite protesting their innocence.

In 1998, all charges against the men were dropped and they were able to return north.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable George Clarke said police "acknowledge there were significant shortcomings in the treatment of the men involved in this case and we recognise the distress that this has caused them".

In a statement on behalf of the four men, Gerry McGowan said: “This compensation will not undo the years of hurt and pain inflicted on us and our families, however it allows us to look to the future and we feel some sense of closure that the state is finally acknowledging their wrongdoing.

“We would like to thank the people of Derry who have stood by us over the past 40 years, and never doubted our innocence."

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