Belfast Telegraph

New evidence delays Jordan inquest

A key police witness in the security force killing of an unarmed IRA man had "directorial" influence throughout shoot-to-kill cases, an inquest has heard.

Pearse Jordan, 23, was shot dead by the Royal Ulster Constabulary in disputed circumstances in west Belfast almost 20 years ago. His inquest has been delayed until the spring because of the volume of new material made available by the police.

A policeman linked to the Jordan case exercised influence which extended throughout the Stalker/Sampson report on controversial security force killings and disclosure of his witness statements, among others, represents the most significant development for more than a decade, coroner Brian Sherrard said.

Mr Sherrard told the Belfast hearing the evidence of the policeman, known as Witness V, was highly significant.

The coroner said: "What is absolutely clear to me with regard to V is that his influence extends right the way through the Stalker/Sampson reports. Without prejudicing any of these matters, his influence extends throughout the reports and his influence is at a directorial level to some extent."

The Stalker/Sampson report involved six people, including IRA men, INLA suspects and a Catholic teenager, who were all shot dead around Lurgan and Armagh in 1982.

An investigation into whether police planned to kill them was carried out by former Greater Manchester Police Deputy Chief Constable John Stalker and Sir Colin Sampson of West Yorkshire Police. The killings created huge controversy because of claims they were shot deliberately.

Mr Sherrard viewed statements to the Stalker/Sampson team involving the 1992 Jordan killing on Tuesday and has now decided to delay the inquest, which was due to start next month.

The coroner added: "Looking at the developments in Mr Jordan's case over the last 19 years, the information I have seen in the last few weeks is of more significance than anything that has come to our attention, possibly in the last six years, maybe in the last 16 years.

"My own overwhelming impression of this situation is that there is just simply not the opportunity for us to fully absorb the ramifications of this in the time that is allowed to us. Everybody here will recognise that there are credibility issues that arise. To my mind this goes well beyond credibility."

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