Northern Ireland

Concerns raised about storage of PSNI Troubles material

Solicitor Kevin Winters
Solicitor Kevin Winters

A brother of a UVF murder victim has raised concerns about the safety of material stored at a high-security PSNI facility in Co Antrim.

Solicitors acting for families bereaved in the Troubles contacted police earlier this month after it emerged damage has been discovered on a roof at the Seapark complex near Carrickfergus.

Police say the complex includes “several different functions including transport services, murder archive, Forensic Services NI and equipment stores”.

After a recent survey by structural engineers who examined roofing on several ageing buildings, a decision was taken to close “some areas” as a “precautionary health and safety measure”.

Grieving relatives are now worried that evidence and exhibits held at the sprawling facility could be lost or destroyed.

In 1998 a reported asbestos find at Gough Barracks in Armagh resulted in the destruction of a large quantity of conflict-related material.

Pat Frizzell, whose brother Brian was shot dead along with two teenage girls, Eileen Duffy (19) and Katrina Rennie (16), in Craigavon in 1991, said he now has concerns about Seapark.

His legal team was previously granted access to documents relating to the case and he believes assurances need to be provided.

“It's very important especially after what happened at Gough Barracks,” he said.

“Is this going to be a re-run of the same thing?”

His solicitor Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, recently wrote

to the PSNI.

“We have been contacted by conflict-bereaved families that have voiced serious concerns about the same issues that arose with Gough and are very worried cases could be interfered with as there is a risk to exhibits,” he said.

Mark McNaughten, temporary director of finance and support services and human resources at the PSNI said: "While there is restricted access to the murder archive, there is currently no plan to decant or relocate the material housed in it.

“Should that change, the Chief Constable has given an assurance to the Policing Board it would take place under 'extreme scrutiny'.

"We are very conscious of how sensitive this matter is for families and loved ones and are treating it with the utmost care and consideration."