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Widow of murdered RUC man has waited 'too long' for answers

By Michael McHugh

Published 30/01/2016

Rosemary Campbell, widow of murdered Catholic RUC officer Sergeant Joe Campbell, is comforted as she leaves Belfast Coroners Court yesterday
Rosemary Campbell, widow of murdered Catholic RUC officer Sergeant Joe Campbell, is comforted as she leaves Belfast Coroners Court yesterday
Sergeant Joe Campbell

An elderly widow whose Catholic police officer husband was shot dead in 1977 has waited too long for answers, a judge said.

Sergeant Joseph Campbell, a father-of-eight, was gunned down as he closed Cushendall RUC station in County Antrim on a February night.

His widow Rosemary sat within a few metres of Lord Justice Weir as the senior judge concluded his last case in a review of outstanding legacy inquests.

He said: "You've had a long wait and I hope we can do something to move this on because it has gone on a long time - too long."

The Police Ombudsman has said the murder could have been prevented by senior RUC commanders.

But the watchdog added it did not believe the force colluded in the officer's murder.

It has retained the murder weapon following its investigation into police conduct.

A file had been submitted to the Public Prosecution Service Ombudsman lawyer Seamus McIlroy said.

It could be two years before the full inquest is heard.

Lord Justice Weir said: "Let's see if we cannot give it a bit of impetus."

The Ministry of Defence is to be asked for any information it has in the interim, a preliminary hearing in Belfast was told.

It could be longer before under-resourced Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire begins his own separate investigation.

Mr Campbell's son, Tommy, said he was encouraged by the judge's comments. "We are extremely happy that the case has gotten some impetus and that the judge has asked the Coroners Court to pursue the Ministry of Defence for information and any records that they have," he added. "It is the first step in a long ladder."

Dr Maguire has said that the original investigation into the murder was "very poor" and that a second 1980 investigation had been undermined by a lack of information.

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