Belfast Telegraph

Gun used to kill Northern Ireland officer now used to train German police

By Rebecca Black

The brother of an RUC man murdered as he served customers at a south Belfast ice cream parlour has demanded PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton apologise after it emerged a gun used in the attack was being used for training by German police.

George Larmour has also called for Mr Hamilton to demand that the German authorities investigate it's decision to remove the gun from evidential storage and in doing so destroying potential DNA evidence that may have been on it.

It can also be revealed that the same Browning 9mm that became a training accessory in Germany was the weapon snatched from Corporal Derek Woods before he was killed along with Corporal David Howes by a mob in west Belfast on March 19, 1988.

Mr Larmour has described the revelation as an "insult to the memory of those it was used to kill and their family members".

The gun was also used by the IRA to murder UDR Lance Corporal Roy Butler in the Park Shopping Centre in August 1988 before being taken to mainland Europe.

He told the Belfast Telegraph that the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) had previously told him that they could not find the gun, and that it was only after his nephew Gavin discovered it was in Germany that it was brought back to Northern Ireland for forensic testing earlier this year.

George's brother John (42) was shot dead by the IRA on October 11, 1988 as he served ice cream at Barnam's World of Ice Cream on the Lisburn Road.

Constable Larmour from Ballyclare, Co Antrim had been looking after the shop for a week while his brother was on holiday.

No one has ever been convicted for the murder.

The Browning, along with the Ruger, used in the attack were recovered by police in Germany in 1990.

Writing an open letter to Mr Hamilton in today's Belfast Telegraph, Mr Larmour reveals that after his nephew located the Browning the HET told him that the weapon was of "little evidential value because someone within the German Police Authority made the decision that this murder weapon should be taken out of secure evidential storage and used to train new German Police Officers how to dismantle and reassemble a Browning".

He writes on: "You will be aware that I had already asked the HET many years ago to bring the Browning back to Belfast for forensic testing. The HET refused to do so because they felt that all possible potential evidence had been destroyed when so many German Police Officer recruits were allowed to use the weapon as a training aid."

Mr Larmour said he was informed this week by the PSNI's Legacy Investigations Branch that the Browning has now been examined following it's recovery from the German police, but that all the tests had proven negative and therefore no new evidential opportunities were identified.

He told the Belfast Telegraph that he wrote to former PSNI Chief Inspector Matt Baggott several times but received no response, and therefore this time he was writing an open letter to his successor Mr Hamilton in the hope it will prompt an answer.

Temporary Detective Superintendent Ian Harrison from Legacy Investigation Branch, said: "A forensic review was conducted in this case which included the examination of a firearm recovered.

"No evidential opportunities have been identified in respect of the firearm. We have been liaising with the Larmour family and have updated them accordingly to the review carried out. The Police Service of Northern Ireland remain committed to ensuring any new credible evidential opportunities are pursued appropriately."

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph