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O’Neill says claims police officers defiled and photographed body ‘atrocious’

Chief Constable Simon Byrne said the allegations “besmirched” the reputation of the police service.

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Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O’Neill (Liam McBurney/PA)

Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O’Neill (Liam McBurney/PA)

Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O’Neill (Liam McBurney/PA)

Sinn Fein Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill has said allegations that two police officers manipulated a suicide victim’s body and shared photos and a video online are “atrocious”.

It comes after PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne called the claims “harrowing and shocking” on Thursday, telling a meeting of the Policing Board that the alleged actions “besmirched” the reputation of the PSNI.

The BBC Spotlight programme reported that the two officers have been under investigation for more than three years over the allegations which date back to 2017, and that one of them had been suspended on full pay.

It's absolutely atrocious what has happened to this family and I'm very conscious of their feelings right nowMichelle O'Neill

The programme said it was part of a wider investigation being carried out by Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson into a range of possible offences including misconduct and harassment.

The family of the suicide victim told the programme that the allegations against the officers had worsened their trauma.

Speaking on RTE Radio on Friday, Ms O’Neill agreed with Mr Byrne’s comments that the allegations were “absolutely harrowing”.

“My thoughts are very much with the family who have been impacted,” she said.

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“I couldn’t even imagine what they’re going through, I couldn’t even imagine how they feel.”

Ms O’Neill said that “a full investigation” needs to be carried out and “the fullest of action needs to be taken” against those responsible.

“People who are supposed to be upholding the law, people who are supposed to be in a position of authority and responsibility, this type of action is not befitting of anybody.

“So it’s absolutely atrocious what has happened to this family and I’m very conscious of their feelings right now.”


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