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Roseann Mallon murder: Top Special Branch officer burned notebooks after pensioner murdered by loyalists

Lesley-Anne McKeown

The Special Branch officer who instigated a surveillance operation on the house where pensioner Roseann Mallon was murdered has burned all his notebooks, a Coroner's Court has been told.

The former RUC detective inspector destroyed his police journals and diaries when he retired to stop them falling into the wrong hands, an inquest heard.

The officer, who has been granted anonymity, said: "I was subject to two very serious threats.

"I did not want those (journals) in my home in the event of a burglary that could expose my family to further threats."

The ex-RUC man, known only as P3, was the most senior figure in Special Branch in Dungannon at the time of Ms Mallon's murder in May 1994.

He said he never considered handing his books back to the police for future reference during trials or inquest hearings. "There was no requirement, I never even thought about it," he added.

P3 also said he was unaware that the Retired Police Officers' Association, of which he is a member, was offering advice on how to avoid giving evidence at inquests.

Ms Mallon's murder by the UVF is shrouded in controversy after secret Army spying equipment was discovered in a field overlooking the scene.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, the retired officer rejected claims by Barry Macdonald QC, representing the Mallon family, that burning the books could give rise to the suspicion there was something to hide. He said: "I am a truthful person. My integrity is intact."

He also defended Special Branch as a professional organisation which played an integral role in ending terrorist activity in the province.

He said he was never involved in collusion; was not aware of it happening and would never have condoned it.

He said: "I know of no time that it (collusion) happened. I have never known it myself and I would not condone any of my staff doing it."

Notorious loyalist killer Billy Wright and two others were arrested and taken to Gough Barracks in Armagh but they refused to answer any questions and all three were released without charge after several days.

The former detective categorically rejected claims that Special Branch had passed information to the UVF.

The inquest, now in its third week, is being heard before High Court Judge Mr Justice Weir at Belfast's Laganside complex.

BACKGROUND

Roseann Mallon (76) was gunned down at her sister-in-law's home on Cullenrammer Road, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, on May 8, 1994.

The UVF said its mid-Ulster unit had been responsible and was targeting relatives of the pensioner who were involved in the republican movement.

RUC pair's no-show at inquest detrimental to case, court told

MoD files on slain pensioner still not handed to inquest

MoD Mallon documents not disclosed

RUC Special Branch 'bypassed' Army to remove spy camera tapes, soldier tells court

Army 'swamped area' prior to loyalist killing

Police made me doubt myself, says young man interrogated by RUC at age of 10 over UVF killing

Army had house where pensioner was gunned down by UVF killers under hi-tech surveillance, inquest hears

MoD finds Mallon shooting documents

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