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Mum of murdered Catholic boy Damien Walsh secures date for court action over alleged RUC collusion with loyalist terrorists


Damien Walsh

Damien Walsh

Damien Walsh

The mother of a Catholic teenager murdered by loyalist paramilitaries has secured a date for her High Court action over alleged security force collusion.

Marian Walsh is suing the PSNI and the Ministry of Defence (MoD), claiming failures which allowed those who killed her son Damien to act with impunity.

A judge today listed the case for a five-day trial in November.

Damien Walsh, 17, was shot dead by the UDA at his work in the Dairy Farm complex near Twinbrook, west Belfast in 1993.

In July last year Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson published a report which identified significant failures in the investigation into his murder.

Although there were no indications police had advance knowledge or could have stopped the attack, she found evidence of “collusive behaviours” by Royal Ulster Constabulary officers.

According to the report an RUC surveillance operation against a UDA unit in the days before the shooting indirectly contributed to the paramilitaries being able to operate without constraint.

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The Ombudsman also found that of seven suspects, just three were arrested and only one questioned about the murder.

None of their homes were searched for evidence, and no one has ever been charged in relation to the murder.

A failure to pursue evidence relating to the murder weapon was also highlighted.

In her legal action Mrs Walsh claims her son’s name and details were on a list of potential targets which his killers could not have gathered without the assistance of police.

She also alleges that the double agent Brian Nelson would have told his Army handlers about the murder operation before it was carried out.

Her solicitor, Kevin Winters, welcomed the decision to fix a trial date in the case.

“That was an important step forward in the long running campaign for justice for the family of Damien,” he said.

Like so many conflict-bereaved families who have never had any meaningful investigation into murders of loved ones, getting judicial oversight on allegations of collusion is significant.”

Mr Winters also accused the British Government of trying to stop bereaved families from having their day in court through its controversial proposals for an amnesty on all Troubles-era litigation.

“It’s easy to see why both the Police Ombudsman and civil actions still remain on the radar of this Government,” he added.

“Locking up the courts will only serve to prevent State accountability on intelligence and investigation failings.”

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