Family of murdered Patsy Kelly slam 'appalling' decision of Attorney General to refuse fresh inquest

Family of murdered Patsy Kelly slam 'appalling' decision of Attorney General to refuse fresh inquest

THE FAMILY of Patsy Kelly, who was murdered during the height of the Troubles almost 50 years ago, have said it is 'appalling' that the Attorney General has rejected calls for a fresh inquest into his death.

Dame Brenda King's decision comes a month after a Police Ombudsman's report said the family had been let down by a 'wholly inadequate investigation' and also found evidence of collusive behaviour.

Sinn Féin have called the Attorney General's decision 'deeply concerning' while the family are to apply for a judicial review.

Kidnapping and murder

Mr Kelly, an independent nationalist councillor on Omagh District Council, was kidnapped on his way home from work in Trillick, Co. Tyrone on July 25, 1974.

The body of the 35-year-old was recovered from Lough Eyes near Lisbellaw, Co. Fermanagh on August 10, 1974.

Mr Kelly, a married father of four, had been shot six times.

The original inquest into his murder delivered an open verdict.

The recent Police Ombudsman's report claimed Special Branch were aware of an active UVF unit in the area and that a number of the unit's members were linked to Mr Kelly's murder.

The report added that intelligence showed 'the UVF unit was assisted in their activities by a number of identified RUC and UDR members'.

The Kelly family hoped the Ombudsman's report, which focussed on the police investigation, would lead to a fresh inquest in order to scrutinise the UDR, a regiment of the British Army.

However, in a statement, they said the Attorney General's refusal left them 'with no option but to now apply for a judicial review into this decision'.

It added: "Given what we now know in regard to the wide-scale collusion across multiple agencies of the British State, it is simply appalling and incomprehensible that a fresh inquest has been denied."

'Fresh inquest is needed'

The family's solicitor, Adrian O'Kane of Patrick Fahy & Co. Solicitors, said a new inquest was the only suitable course of action.

"The Police Ombudsman, by definition, is confined to examination of issues relating to the conduct of the RUC/PSNI," said Mr O'Kane.

"The Kelly family have always contended that all of the other components of the State — including Ministry of Defence and the Security Services — have important issues to address and questions to answer resulting from the death of Patsy Kelly.

"These can only be properly and fully addressed in a fresh inquest."

Sinn Féin's Órfhlaith Begley echoed Mr O'Kane's comments as she backed the family's application for a judicial review.

"It's deeply concerning that the Attorney General has refused to hold a fresh inquest into the murder of independent councillor Patsy Kelly," said the West Tyrone MP.

"Given the damning findings of the Police Ombudsman's report into how Patsy was abducted and killed, the levels of cover-up and collusion involved, and the RUC's failure to properly investigate this brutal murder, it is clear that a fresh inquest is needed."