Northern Ireland news

Operation Kenova's Jon Boutcher to head probe into Jean Smyth-Campbell 1972 killing

Jean Smyth-Campbell was shot dead while sitting in a car on the Glen Road in west Belfast

AN INDEPENDENT probe is to be launched into the fatal shooting of a young Belfast woman more than 45 years ago.

Jean Smyth-Campbell (24) was shot dead while sitting in a car on the Glen Road in west Belfast on June 8 1972.

The IRA was initially blamed for her death but there is now speculation that the secretive army unit the Military Reaction Force was involved.

The fresh probe will be led by outgoing Bedfordshire Chief Constable Jon Boutcher, who is heading the separate Operation Kenova investigation into the activities of British agent Stakeknife .

In March, Court of Appeal judges ruled that PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton is under an obligation to further investigate the death of Ms Smyth-Campbell in a way which meets human rights requirements.

Mr Hamilton made the announcement of the new investigation yesterday, shortly before he is due to leave his job.

"I recognise the frustration of Jean's family and representatives at the lack of progress in this case, and I am deeply sorry there were previous investigative failures into the circumstances surrounding her death," he said.

Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey welcomed the investigation.

"The family of Jean Smyth-Campbell have been fighting for almost 50 years for truth and justice," he said.

"Hopefully today's decision will deliver on the family's right to an independent investigation to access truth and justice and investigation which is human-rights compliant."

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