Sunday Life

Crusading father's bid to meet Blair over son's murder

23 January 2005

Lawyers acting for north Belfast man Raymond McCord have asked for a meeting with Tony Blair, to raise concerns about alleged political interference in the hunt for his son's UVF killers.

Mr McCord claims information provided to him raises serious questions about the alleged interference in the investigation of the 1997 killing of his son, Raymond, jnr.

The 22-year-old was found battered to death at a quarry on the outskirts of Belfast, after he was persuaded to go to a meeting with a number of UVF men.

The man who ordered the murder is widely believed to have been a major RUC informer within the ranks of the UVF for most of the 1990s.

He is currently facing serious criminal charges for an unrelated alleged assault.

Mr McCord told Sunday Life that a briefing from detectives last week confirmed a number of suspicions he had about the UVF gang behind his son's murder - and raised questions about political interference with the original police probe.

He said: "My solicitor has now written to Tony Blair asking for a meeting to raise these issues. Not only do you have a paid police informer - an agent of the state - instigating murder, but you have political interference."

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan is supervising an investigation into Mr McCord's murder.

It is the largest inquiry her office has mounted since the Omagh bomb police probe was examined.

A team of investigators has been poring over Special Branch files to establish the extent of the RUC's agent network within the heavily compromised north and west Belfast UVF.

Her report, which may be completed by late summer, is expected to raise major questions about the involvement of the RUC's top UVF informer in north Belfast in the McCord murder, as well as at least one other killing, that of a Catholic woman.

Added Mr McCord: "What I have now learned has vindicated my actions in going to the Ombudsman.

"But I am even more shocked at the probability of political interference in the initial investigation.

"I think I deserve an answer to that from Tony Blair."

slnews@belfast telegraph.co.uk

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