Belfast Telegraph

Enniskillen bomb: Police missed opportunities in pursuit of bombers, new report claims

By Rebecca Black

Families of the 12 people killed in the Enniskillen bomb are set to receive a summary report of an investigation by the Historical Enquiries Team - more than three years after the body was wound up.

The Impartial Reporter newspaper yesterday revealed that the reports issued to the families of the victims on Tuesday detail a number of "missed opportunities" by the RUC to interview suspects.

It also alleges that a number of statements made in the original investigation have since been destroyed.

The account has not been published and is understood to be a draft, rather than final, report.

No-one has ever been convicted of the IRA bomb, which was detonated during a Remembrance Day parade in Enniskillen on November 8, 1987.

Eleven people were killed in the outrage and a 12th died in hospital after 13 years in a coma. Some 63 people were also injured.

Stephen Gault, whose father Samuel (49) was killed in the blast, told the Belfast Telegraph last night that he received a draft report pertaining to his father's death on November 6.

However, it is understood that the other families have been issued with a more generic report, as the sections on those deaths had not been completed before the HET was wound up.

A spokesman for the South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) emphasised that the reports which have been issued to the families of the victims are not a definitive, finished review of the case.

"Picking small pieces out of this document does no-one any favours," he said. "The report is named as 'General Material from Draft HET Review Summary Report', it is not a definitive finished review."

Meanwhile, Mr Gault said he is glad to receive his report, but believes he could have had it eight years ago.

"The report I received was specifically about my dad," he said.

"We had been due to receive it previously, but it had been delayed three times. We had a meeting with the HET eight years ago and at that stage my dad's report was more or less complete.

"It doesn't tell me any more than I already knew, there are no names of suspects, we are no further forward. It's not going to bring me any closure but it is still nice to have got it. At least now I can put that particular ghost to bed."

In a statement to the Belfast Telegraph, Detective Superintendent Ian Harrison from the PSNI's Legacy Investigation Branch said the atrocity is set to be reviewed by his unit.

"The murders at the Enniskillen Cenotaph remain within the extensive case load of Legacy Investigation Branch for future review," he said.

"If a new Historical Investigation Unit is established as part of political developments, the case files will pass to that body."

He emphasised that detectives are committed to following any new leads that may emerge.

"The PSNI has worked tirelessly in our efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators of the bomb attack on the Memorial Service at Enniskillen in 1987," Mr Harrison said.

"Ten people were arrested and interviewed during the course of the original investigation and subsequently released due to insufficient evidence to support a prosecution.

"Since the initial investigation into the atrocity, a number of case reviews and further investigative actions have been undertaken by police.

"We have given the families our personal assurance that the case will remain open and that we are committed to pursuing investigative options should they develop in the future.

"The information as provided by witnesses E and F (as referred to in the draft report) was considered during the case reviews and subsequent investigations conducted into the murders in Enniskillen.

"It was the assessment of investigators that the information as provided by both witnesses did not provide a credible opportunity to advance the Enniskillen case. If new information comes to light, we will of course fully investigate it."

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