Belfast Telegraph

Disappeared victim had hands tied

A young man had his hands tied behind his back before he was killed by republicans and dumped in a bog during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, an inquest has heard.

Gerard Evans - one of the so-called Disappeared - vanished while hitch-hiking back to his home in Crossmaglen, south Armagh, on March 25, 1979.

Dublin City Coroner's Court heard the 24-year-old's body was weighed down with stones when it was located in a bog at Carrickrobin, Co Louth, on October 15, 2010.

He had no paramilitary links and no organisation has claimed responsibility for the killing.

Geoff Knupfer, head of the investigation team with the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains, said an exact cause of death could not be determined due to the age of the remains. "The deceased's hands appeared to have been tied behind his back when the body was buried," he said.

He said on the balance of probability, he was satisfied Mr Evans was not the victim of a random abduction but that it had paramilitary involvement. The victim's elderly mother Mary broke down at the end of the hearing.

Prof Marie Cassidy, the Republic's state pathologist, revealed she was hampered by the condition of the body to determine the cause of death. The bones showed no evidence of trauma from a wound or a gunshot, she said.

However, Coroner Dr Brian Farrell asked Det Insp Joseph Crowe, of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, if he was satisfied the young man had suffered an unnatural and violent death.

He replied: "I am indeed. The totality of the circumstances is what we are relying on to come to this conclusion. Gerry Evans was found about 25 miles away from where he was last seen. He was not just walking there. He was actually abducted, taken away and subsequently found."

A jury returned a verdict of death by unlawful killing and that Mr Evans suffered an unnatural and violent means at the hands of a paramilitary organisation.

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