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Ex-officers reject Rosemary Nelson criticism

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Rosemary Nelson was killed in a loyalist bomb attack more than 12 years ago

Rosemary Nelson was killed in a loyalist bomb attack more than 12 years ago

Rosemary Nelson was killed in a loyalist bomb attack more than 12 years ago

Retired police officers have rejected criticism that they did not do enough to ensure the safety of murdered Lurgan solicitor Rosemary Nelson.

In a letter to the Belfast Telegraph, David Turkington said he wanted to remind the public that the findings outlined in the report released last Monday showed “no evidence of any act by or within any of the state agencies”.

Mr Turkington, who chairs the Northern Ireland Retired Police Officers' Association, representing around 3,000 retired officers from the RUC and PSNI, said: “For the public record, let us remind everyone of the main finding: ‘There is no evidence of any act by or within any of the state agencies (including the RUC...) we have examined which directly facilitated Rosemary Nelson’s murder'. That is unambiguous and overarching,” he said.

The solicitor was killed after a loyalist bomb went off under her car outside her home in 1999. The report confirmed members of the RUC had “publicly abused and assaulted” Mrs Nelson on the Garvaghy Road in Portadown in 1997, “having the effect of legitimising her as a target” for loyalist groups.

According to Mr Turkington, the report does not say the RUC failed to protect Mrs Nelson, but “speaks of omissions by the RUC and NIO which rendered her more vulnerable”.

The report's authors, Sir Michael Morland, Sir Anthony Burden and Dame Valerie Strachan, said they believed there was “leakage of intelligence” which had “found its way outside the RUC”, increasing the danger to Mrs Nelson's life.

Mr Turkington said that the observations made had to “be read in conjunction with the findings of the Canadian Judge Cory's report in 2004” into Mrs Nelson's death, where he noted that “in November 1993 a specially trained officer made four visits in one week to her office to discuss personal and work-related security.”

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Background

Rosemary Nelson was a solicitor based in Lurgan. Soon after working with the family of Robert Hamill, who was kicked to death by loyalists in Portadown, concerns were raised over her safety. In 1999 she was killed after a bomb planted by loyalists exploded under her car.

Following a Government inquiry, which looked at allegations of collusion, the police ombudsman said officers did not properly investigate the matter — leading to a new inquiry the following year.


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