Northern Ireland news

Family of murdered Patsy Kelly 'failed by police' says Ombudsman report

Patsy Kelly was murdered in July 1974 

A police investigation into the murder of nationalist councillor Patsy Kelly in Co Tyrone in 1974 was "wholly inadequate", with the actions of RUC Special Branch indicative of "collusive behaviour", the Police Ombudsman has found.

Mr Kelly was last seen alive in the early hours of July 24, 1974, as he drove away from the Corner Bar in Trillick where he worked.

His body was found in Lough Eyes, near Lisbellaw in Co Fermanagh, three weeks later on August 10. He had been shot six times.

While loyalist paramilitaries claimed responsibility for the murder, the Kelly family believe the killing was perpetrated by members of a British Army patrol.

No-one has ever been charged or prosecuted over the murder.

Among findings published on Wednesday, Ombudsman Marie Anderson said the Kelly family was "failed by police".

Failings identified by the Police Ombudsman included a senior investigating RUC officer showing "latent" investigative bias.

Marie Anderson concluded that the withholding of intelligence from the murder investigation team and the failure to act on intelligence about an active UVF unit in the Fermanagh area was indicative of "collusive behaviour" on the part of RUC Special Branch and the "L" Division Commander who was responsible for oversight of the investigation.

The Kelly family welcomed the ombudsman's report and said it vindicated their almost 50-year campaign for justice. They have called for a fresh inquest into the killing.

Patsy Kelly's widow Teresa and sons Patsy, Barry and Fearghal met  the Police Ombudsman in Belfast this morning to receive the findings.

Afterwards, Patsy Kelly welcomed the report.

"Today is highly emotional for members of our family, a campaign of 50 years searching for truth and today we are vindicated in terms of the failings of police investigations," he said.

"We realise that today is a step forward in the overall campaign for truth and the next step in the process should be a fresh inquest that is granted immediately."

Northern Ireland news