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Jean McConville disappeared case evidence sought from witness in US

By Alan Erwin

Published 17/05/2016

Murdered: Jean McConville
Murdered: Jean McConville

Efforts are being made to obtain evidence from an American witness in the case against a veteran republican charged over the killing of Disappeared victim Jean McConville, a court heard.

A prosecution lawyer disclosed attempts to have them compelled to testify about alleged offences linked to Ivor Bell. The 79-year-old faces charges of soliciting to murder, connected to an allegation that he encouraged or persuaded others to kill Mrs McConville.

The victim, a mother of 10, was seized by the IRA from her Divis Flats home in west Belfast in 1972. Her body was discovered on a Co Louth beach in 2003.

The case against Bell, from Ramoan Gardens, Belfast, centres on an interview he allegedly gave to US researchers from Boston College as part of a project with former paramilitaries. The accused, who is currently on bail, denies any role in events surrounding the murder.

At Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday, prosecution lawyer John O'Neill indicated that efforts have been made to compel an unnamed witness from America to give evidence. That person remains unwilling to comply with requests.

An application may now be made to have this evidence admitted on a hearsay basis.

The case was adjourned until next month.

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