| 7.4°C Belfast

Man who claimed he was forced to ID nephew’s mutilated body loses case

The uncle of a teenage murder victim yesterday lost his High Court action over claims that police forced him to identify his badly mutilated body.

Alan Steele sued the Chief Constable for psychological injuries he alleged were inflicted by performing the task after David McIlwaine's remains were brought to the morgue.

The 18-year-old victim was stabbed to death along with his friend Andrew Robb (19) in February 2000. Their bodies were dumped by a road near Tandragee, Co Armagh.

The double murder came weeks after alleged UVF leader Richard Jameson was shot dead in nearby Portadown.

Mr Steele claimed officers did not care about making him identify the body because they wrongly believed David, who had no paramilitary links, was a member of the rival Loyalist Volunteer Force.

But dismissing his negligence case, Lord Justice Coghlin said: “He appears to have become totally consumed and embittered by what he perceives to be injustice and conspiracy associated with the investigation and prosecution of the murders.”

During the case Mr Steele gave evidence of suffering post-traumatic stress disorder as a consequence of having to identify a

body which was said to have been almost decapitated.

He alleged a police sergeant told him if he did not go to the morgue there was a danger that David's parents, who had been shopping in Belfast, would hear of his death over the car radio.

In his ruling, Lord Justice Coghlin praised the quality of evidence given on behalf of the defendant by the lead investigating officer and a senior mortuary technician.

Both had denied any compulsion or pressure was put on Mr Steele to carry out the identification of the body.

It was also stated that he had been reassured no names would be released until the next of kin were informed.

Belfast Telegraph