RUC QUESTIONED OVER ROSEMARY NELSON KILLING
Two former RUC police members have been questioned over
allegations that they threatened the life of the Lurgan
defence lawyer Rosemary Nelson and may have colluded in her
Nelson died in a loyalist car bombing in March 1999. The
circumstances of her death mirrored those accompanying that of
Belfast solicitor Patrick Finucane ten years earlier. In both
cases, death threats by members of the RUC Special Branch
preceded the killings.
Information that two former RUC members had been questioned in
connection with the killing surfaced as relatives of Rosemary
Nelson were told that the inquiry was finished, despite the
failure to secure any convictions.
It is understood that the two RUC suspects were questioned
following claims by a convicted loyalist killer that two named
RUC officers had asked him to have Rosemary Nelson shot dead.
Loyalist Trevor McKeown first made the claim to a newspaper
earlier this year. McKeown said that, in 1997, during an
interrogation regarding an unrelated sectarian killing, the
RUC members questioning him offered to pass on the Lurgan
solicitor's personal details to have her killed.
McKeown's allegations were initially believed to have been
linked to a bid to overturn his current conviction, but
Rosemary Nelson's family have recently discovered that the
officers named by McKeown were two of a number of RUC
personnel questioned six years ago, after the solicitor filed
a complaint against RUC threats to her life.
An internal RUC investigation followed the complaint but was
subsequently discredited. Later a team headed by London
Metropolitan Commander Niall Mulvihill was sent to investigate
Mulvihill's team questioned a number of RUC members, but his
report was never made public. No action was taken, on the
grounds of insufficient evidence.
Following McKeown's allegations, the two former RUC members
agreed to be interviewed by the Port team, but denied the
Rosemary's sister Bernie said the family had first wondered if
McKeown was "trying to tell a story for his own ends", but
later, "when we heard that he named names which were in the
Mulvihill report, we were concerned".
The family was recently informed that the Port investigation
had ended. Commenting, a spokesperson for the family said that
they were disappointed, but not surprised that it appeared
that no one would be prosecuted for Nelson's murder.
"It had been the family's view for some time that the Port
investigation was not going to expose collusion in the case,
nor was it going to bring people to justice."
The family went on to say that, in their opinion, there is
extensive evidence suggesting collusion in the murder and that
they are placing their trust in the inquiry being undertaken
by Judge Cory. The retired Canadian Supreme Court Judge is
currently examining six controversial cases, to determine if
there is evidence of collusion sufficient enough to lead a