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Liam Thompson sectarian murder file delays are intolerable, Belfast Coroner's Court hears

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 07/05/2015

Liam Thompson was killed at a Belfast peace line in April 1994
Liam Thompson was killed at a Belfast peace line in April 1994

Delays in disclosing police files about a sectarian murder at a peace line more than 20 years ago are unacceptable, a Coroner's Court has heard.

Liam Thompson (25) was gunned down at Springfield Park in west Belfast in April 1994.

Solicitor Gemma McKeown, representing his family, said: "This is an inquest touching a death which is 21 years old.

"We were advised that sensitive material would be provided by the start of March this year."

The case of Mr Thompson, from Dermott Hill in Belfast, is among a large number of Troubles-related deaths still awaiting a full inquest.

At a preliminary inquiry in Mays Chambers it was claimed the specialist police legacy unit was struggling to cope.

Stephen Ritchie, barrister for the PSNI, said a "root and branch" change of personnel plus financial pressures had added to delays.

Mr Ritchie said: "It is creating significant difficulties because there are a number of coroners' inquiries with these preliminary hearings ongoing, and in each one the families are, quite understandably, saying, 'when are we going to get our disclosure?'."

He hoped the material could be handed over within two months.

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