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McConville children vow to continue fight for justice

Insufficient grounds to prosecute Adams and others over 1972 murder

By Deborah McAleese

Published 30/09/2015

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams
Jean McConville with some of her children
Deputy director of the PPS Pamela Atchison addresses the media

The children of Jean McConville have vowed to continue their fight for justice after prosecutors decided not to pursue Gerry Adams and six others over her murder.

Following a review of police files the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has concluded there is "insufficient" evidence against four women and three men - including the Sinn Fein leader and top republican Bobby Storey - to take a case.

Mrs McConville, a widowed mother-of-10, was abducted from her home in Divis flats, west Belfast, in December 1972 before being killed and secretly buried in the Republic.

The 37-year-old's remains were found on a beach in Co Louth in 2003.

Mr Adams described the decision not to prosecute him as "long overdue".

But Mrs McConville's son Michael said yesterday that her family will fight for justice for as long as it takes.

"Those who ordered, planned and carried out this war crime thought that their guilt could disappear along with her body," Michael said.

"But it has not, and we will continue to seek justice for our mother and see those responsible held to account, no matter how long it takes."

Michael, who was present the night his mother was taken from her home, said the family were "shattered" that the prosecutions were not going to be pursued.

"But we really knew what the outcome was going to be. We are just hoping new information comes in.

"We know there are people out there with information about my mother's case and we would like them to come forward and help us," he added.

Michael said he can recall his mother being dragged screaming from the family home.

"I remember a rap coming to the door. A lot of people came in to the house. They told us they were only taking our mother away for a short time, but that wasn't the case.

"My mother was in her own home when these people came in and took her out of it. They took her down to a beach and shot her.

"They had her arms and legs tied up and then they secretly buried her.

"This has happened in Europe before and the people that did it were brought to The Hague for war crimes.

"What is the difference with our mother's case?"

PPS deputy director Pamela Atchison said careful consideration was given to the evidence available in respect of the three men and four women reported.

She said, however, that the evidence was "insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of obtaining a conviction against any of them for a criminal offence".

Mr Adams said: "There was never any real basis for questioning me in respect of this case.

"I played no act or part in Jean McConville's death."

Mr Adams was arrested in relation to the case last May and interviewed for four days by police.

The 66-year-old has always denied any wrongdoing.

On his release from police custody, Mr Adams said there was a "sustained, malicious, untruthful campaign" over his alleged involvement in the murder.

Last November Sinn Fein chairman and former IRA prison leader Mr Storey was arrested for questioning.

Adams and Storey were both detained on the basis of recordings from the Boston College project.

So far one person has been charged in connection with Mrs McConville's death.

Ivor Bell (78), a leader in the Provisional IRA in the 1970s, is to be prosecuted for soliciting her murder.

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