Sunday Life

MI5 blocking cop's murder inquiry

By Chris Anderson
21 November 2004

AN INQUIRY into allegations that RUC Special Branch could have prevented the IRA murder of a young policewoman, is being obstructed by MI5, it was claimed, last night.

Security sources say documents relating to the murder of Constable Colleen McMurray, in a mortar attack, in Newry, are being kept from the Police Ombudsman's investigators by the intelligence services.

Sources claim the documents reveal that Special Branch allowed the attack, in Newry, to go ahead in order to protect an informer inside the IRA.

Said one: "A number of undercover agents files are been kept from the Ombudsman's team eyes.

"Their contents are a potential minefield for the NIO - and prove MI5 and the (Special) Branch had advance warning of the McMurray attack, but let it go ahead to protect a top-level informant.

"The Ombudsman's office only gets the files they ask for - they don't know these file exist, so how can they request to see them?"

Const McMurray was killed, when an IRA mortar struck the passenger side of her armoured patrol car, as it drove along Newry's Merchant's Quay, in March, 1992.

Her colleague, Constable Paul Slane, lost both legs in the same attack.

The IRA 'Doodlebug' had been hidden in a specially adapted car, which was parked on the other side of the Newry canal. The device was triggered by a photographic flashgun.

Earlier this year, members of Const McMurray's family met with Lagan Valley MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, and asked him to help uncover who was responsible for her death.

Mr Donaldson later met with Ms O'Loan and urged her to investigate the issues surrounding WPC McMurray's murder.

It is understood the Ombudsman's investigation centres on claims, that former security services agent, 'Kevin Fulton', had warned MI5 and Special Branch, in March, 1992, that the IRA was planning a mortar bomb attack on the security forces.

It is claimed Fulton told his MI5/Special Branch handlers the bomb-maker's identity, and how he planned to use the flash-gun device, five days before the attack in which WPC McMurray lost her life.

But, Fulton was unable to state when or where the IRA would launch their attack.

The Police Ombudsman's office said it had powers to request all PSNI information needed in the course of an investigation.

A spokesperson said they received most of the material asked for in relation to the McMurray case, but were still waiting for further information to be handed over.

"At this stage there is no question of anyone withholding any information from us," said the spokesperson.

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