Northern Ireland news

Patsy Kelly's family call for inquest into killing collusion

Patsy Kelly was murdered in July 1974
Connla Young

The family of a nationalist councillor killed by loyalists almost 50 years ago have called for an “urgent inquest” after a damning Police Ombudsman report found “collusive behaviour” among some police officers in the murder.

In a hard hitting report published on Wednesday, Marie Anderson concluded that the family of Patsy Kelly “were failed” by police.

A member of Omagh District Council, Mr Kelly is thought to have been killed as he returned home from work at a bar in Trillick, Co Tyrone, in July 1974.

His remains were weighed down before being dumped in Lough Eyes in Co Fermanagh and were recovered three weeks later when they floated to the surface.

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It was later found he had been shot six times.

The Kelly family, and many in the local community, have long suspected the involvement of UDR members in the murder.

While no-one has been convicted, several former members of the UDR have been arrested and questioned.

Mrs Anderson said there was a series of "significant" investigative failings in the case.

These included a failure to verify UDR alibies, forensic failings, ‘latent’ investigative bias and no dissemination of intelligence.



The ombudsman also confirmed there was a failure to act on intelligence.

She revealed that RUC Special Branch and a senior officer in the area were aware of “significant intelligence” that a UVF unit was active in Fermanagh at the time of Mr Kelly’s murder.

A number of this unit’s members were “either directly linked to Mr Kelly’s murder and other terrorist attacks”.

The ombudsman also reveals that a number of security force members, including police officers, “were also linked to this unit and its activities”.

Mr Kelly’s son Patsy said the ombudsman’s report is “merely a step in the ongoing journey”.

“Already we are looking to the granting of a fresh inquest because it’s important to remember that the ombudsman’s report was focused on police conduct into the investigations into my father’s murder,” he said.

“To get a complete full picture the granting of a fresh inquest is required urgently and immediately.

“There should not be any delay whatsoever in the granting of an inquest now, based on these findings.”

Mr Kelly said his family continues to believe there was UDR involvement in his father’s murder.

“That’s been our belief since day one that there has been significant UDR involvement in my father’s murder,” he said.

“That is the belief of the local community in Trillick and has been from day one.”

 “Our view on UDR involvement certainly has not changed.

This underpins our point that a fresh inquest should be granted.”

Marie Anderson said the Kelly family were let down.

“What I do feel is that the family were failed by police on a number of levels,” she said.

Northern Ireland news