Belfast Telegraph

Jean McConville murder: Ivor Bell to learn if he is to stand trial next month for alleged role in disappearance

By Alan Erwin

A veteran republican charged in connection with the killing of Disappeared victim Jean McConville will learn next month if he is to stand trial.

At Belfast Magistrates Court today it was confirmed that police and prosecutors are currently on track to meet a target date for holding committal proceedings against Ivor Bell.

The 78-year-old is currently charged with aiding and abetting Mrs McConville's murder, and membership of the IRA.

A preliminary enquiry to establish if the case against him should advance to a full trial has been listed for October 22.

Mrs McConville, a mother of 10, was seized by the IRA from her Divis Flats home in west Belfast in 1972 after being wrongly accused of being an informer.

Following her abduction she was shot dead and then secretly buried.

Her body was discovered on a Co Louth beach in 2003.

Bell, from Ramoan Gardens in the Andersonstown district of west Belfast, was arrested and charged in March last year.

The case against him centres on an interview he allegedly gave to US researchers from Boston College who interviewed several former paramilitaries about their roles in the Northern Ireland conflict.

Although transcripts were not to be published until after the deaths of those who took part, a US court ordered the tapes should be handed over to PSNI detectives investigating Mrs McConville's killing.

It is alleged that Bell is one of the Boston interviewees, given the title Z, who spoke about the circumstances surrounding the decision to abduct her.

A voice analyst has been enlisted as part of the case.

The accused - who is currently on bail - denies any role in events surrounding the murder, claiming he was not even in the city at the time.

He was not present in court for today's review of progress in meeting the preliminary enquiry date.

After being briefed on the current status District Judge George Conner listed the case for a further update in four weeks time.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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