Glenn Quinn’s family deserve answers about PSNI failings

The Irish News view: The case of Mr Quinn, murdered in his Carrickfergus home in January 2020, also raises serious questions about the apparent impunity with which paramilitaries operate

Glenn Quinn (PSNI)
Glenn Quinn; the vulnerable 47-year-old was murdered in his Carrickfergus home in January 2020

It is four years since Glenn Quinn was brutally murdered in his Carrickfergus home. Mr Quinn, who was terminally ill, was beaten to death with iron bars and baseball bats.

A £40,000 reward has been offered for information which helps convict the 47-year-old’s killers, who are believed to be members of the South East Antrim UDA. The loyalist paramilitary gang is responsible for other killings in the area which also remain unsolved.

Each murder is another grim example of the apparent impunity with which these deadly criminal gangs are able to operate, and of the PSNI’s poor record in bringing to justice those who terrorise their communities.

Compounding the Quinns’ pain is the Police Ombudsman’s finding that the PSNI did not deal appropriately with information about a threat against Mr Quinn in the days before his death. The family justifiably feel angry and let down.

Ombudsman Marie Anderson said the police had “failed to deal properly” with intelligence received three days before Mr Quinn’s was murdered on January 4 2020.

The intelligence, which stated Mr Quinn’s name and home address, stated he would be shot dead.

However, the Ombudsman says her inquiries have established that Mr Quinn was not told about the threat because he was not linked on police systems to the address given in the threat.

“This led to police failing to identify him as a target,” said Mrs Anderson. “If police had visited the address it is likely that they would have been able to confirm that he lived there, which would have verified the credibility of the threat.”

Had Mr Quinn received a threat warning, the Ombudsman concluded it would have “provided him with an opportunity to consider police advice in respect of appropriate precautionary measures”.

Glenn Quinn's brother Martin and mother Ellen
Glenn Quinn's brother Martin and mother Ellen

The Ombudsman recommended that a duty inspector involved should have been disciplined for the failing; she would have recommended disciplinary action against a second officer had he not already retired.

But the PSNI decided that the serving officer had no case to answer for the misconduct and was instead given additional training - something Mrs Anderson said was disappointing in light of “the failings identified”.

The Quinn family understandably want that disciplinary decision reviewed by chief constable Jon Boutcher, who they are to meet.

It is important they receive answers about a case which raises serious questions about policing in the Carrickfergus area as well as against paramilitaries in general.