Northern Ireland

Sam Caskey still doesn't know who tried to kill him despite Police Ombudsman report

Solicitor Michael Brentnall
Solicitor Michael Brentnall

A LAWYER acting for a survivor of a loyalist gun attack has said he still doesn't know who tried to kill him despite the publication of a major Police Ombudsman report.

Ormeau Road man Sam Caskey was shot in the back in October 1990.

His case was included in the Police Ombudsman's Operation Achille report, which was published this week.

Mr Caskey is one of two men whose lives were known to be under threat from loyalists but the RUC failed to inform them.

The damning report found there was "collusive behaviour" in the murder and attempted murder of 11 Catholics in the 1990s.

The report focused on the activities of the UDA/UFF in south Belfast at the time.

However, it did not identify the organisation responsible for the attempted murder of Mr Caskey, which has never been claimed.

The report reveals that Mr Caskey was on a UVF hit list in the late 1980s and he had believed that faction was responsible for trying to kill him.

When contacted last night the ombudsman's office again failed to provide clarity.

"In her public statement, the Police Ombudsman has provided as much information as possible to those affected and cannot provide more information than what is included in the public statement," a spokesman said.

In her report the ombudsman has confirmed that the gun used to shoot Mr Caskey was 9mm Browning type pistol of military origin "with ammunition of military origin".

The same weapon was used by to kill two people in Belfast in 1988 in an attack claimed by the UDA/UFF but its use was later attributed to the UVF.

The report also reveals that no suspects have been identified.

In 2010 a solicitor acting for Mr Caskey was told by the PSNI that they could not "trace any existing records concerning the alleged incident".

The ombudsman later retrieved information from police relating to the attempted murder, which was contained in a single A4 sized box.

Mr Caskey last night said the report "proves what I believed all along that the RUC had colluded with loyalists to attempt to murder me".

"Initially the PSNI denied the existence of the investigation file, however it has now been confirmed in that same file that no weapon was recovered, not one person was arrested, and the RUC were aware of threats against me but they failed to pass these on to me."

He added that the RUC also overlooked "clear and obvious enquiries" and failed to "follow up information from a number of witnesses who came forward and gave significant information".

His solicitor Michael Brentnall, of Brentnall Legal, last night said his client "is still not aware of who carried out this attack even in light of the (Police Ombudsman) investigation".

“Our client has been told that the RUC had intelligence, that in the two years prior to the attempt to murder him he was high on a UVF hitlist, and that loyalists were targeting him however the RUC did not action these threats," he said.

"Yet in the aftermath of the attack they had no intelligence on suspects or which organisation carried the attack out, and given the levels of infiltration of loyalist paramilitaries it is inconceivable that no intelligence existed in the aftermath of this attack pointing in the direction of those who carried it out."