Police launch murder inquiry into death of Belfast prison officer Adrian Ismay
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Police launch murder inquiry into death of Belfast prison officer Adrian Ismay

A MURDER inquiry has been launched into the death of a Belfast prison officer who died 11 days after being injured in a dissident republican bomb attack.

Adrian Ismay, 52, of Hillsborough Drive, Belfast was injured following the partial detonation of a bomb under his van on Friday, March 4, and later died in hospital on Tuesday morning.

A post-mortem examination revealed that he died as a direct result of the injuries sustained during the explosion.

Following the bombing, the BBC reported that a dissident republican group – widely referred to as the new IRA – had claimed to have carried out the attack.

In a statement the group said that Mr Ismay was targeted for training officers at Maghaberry Prison near Lisburn in Co. Antrim.

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PSNI Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Richard Campbell said: "Today is yet another difficult day for the Ismay family, his friends and colleagues as they struggle to come to terms with the events of the past 12 days.

"We have spoken to the family this morning and advised them of this development."

DCI Campbell confirmed that one man had been charged with attempted murder and causing an explosion with intent to endanger life.

Following the news of Mr Ismay’s death, the BBC reported that some dissident republicans in the Maghaberry Prison celebrated the news, ‘smoking cigars and cheering.’

Their actions were widely condemned by the head of the Northern Ireland Prison Service Sue McAllister, who said that she will investigate the claims.

"This was just unacceptable behaviour by a very small number of prisoners," she said. “My colleagues in Maghaberry dealt with it professionally, with great fortitude and with the courage they display on a daily basis."

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The PSNI have also re-appealed for information on two cars believed to have been involved in the attack: a red Citroen C3 and a silver Skoda Fabia.

Anyone with information should contact detectives on the Non-Emergency 101 number or anonymously through the Crimestoppers Charity 0800 555 111".