Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Police force is betraying its own, claims victim's daughter

By Allan Preston

The daughter of a murdered RUC officer has hit out at police investigators, saying she believes "police don't care about police killings" after revelations the weapon used to kill her father may still be in use to train police recruits in Germany.

Kathryn Johnston was 17 when her father - RUC Constable Harry Beckett - was murdered by the IRA on June 30, 1990.

Ms Johnston was told her father was killed with a Browning 9mm pistol taken from one of two British soldiers murdered in west Belfast in March 1988.

She said the possibility that the same gun could now be a training tool for German police was "like using a knife to stab someone and then cleaning it and using it for your dinner. I am shocked and devastated".

A similar claim was reported in this paper by George Larmour, whose RUC officer brother John Larmour was killed by the IRA while minding his brother's ice cream shop on the Lisburn Road on October 11, 1988.

After years of doggedly pressing the police for answers, Mr Larmour told the Belfast Telegraph he had traced two weapons used in his brother's killing.

He discovered one was still being used to train recruits in Germany, with the other held as evidence by the PSNI in Carrickfergus.

Ms Johnston said she was deeply shocked and felt "sick" after reading the story, and has slammed police investigators for failing to recover the gun.

She added she was too upset by the development to give an interview, but sent a statement to the Belfast Telegraph.

"The revelations outlined by Mr Larmour are a testament to his dedication in recovering the truth, but are an indictment as to how the police did not do the job that they were professionally obliged to do in the first instance.

"That this weapon is currently being used for police training purposes beggars belief."

Ms Johnston said that "it seems to me that the police don't care about police killings".

Her solicitor, Niall Murphy of the Kevin R Winters law firm, said the developments this week had raised concerns.

He added: "The admission that a weapon used in several murders is now being used as a police training weapon is yet another shameful development in the State's management of forensic evidence."

Mr Murphy also said there was ambiguity between what Mr Larmour had discovered and the account given to Ms Johnston by the Historical Enquiries Team.

As a result of the questions raised by the differing accounts, as well as potential mismanagement of evidence by the RUC's ballistics experts, he said he would be seeking a meeting with the Police Ombudsman.

by allan preston

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph