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Police report on MI5 evidence destruction case passed to prosecutors

Police Scotland have been carrying out an investigation.

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Police Scotland Clyde Gateway headquarters at Dalmarnock, Glasgow (Jane Barlow/PA)

Police Scotland Clyde Gateway headquarters at Dalmarnock, Glasgow (Jane Barlow/PA)

Police Scotland Clyde Gateway headquarters at Dalmarnock, Glasgow (Jane Barlow/PA)

Detectives investigating the destruction of evidence linked to an alleged police shoot-to-kill operation have handed a report to prosecutors.

Royal Ulster Constabulary officers shot dead 17-year-old Michael Tighe and seriously injured Martin McCauley, 19, when they opened fire on a hayshed in Lurgan, Co Armagh in November 1982.

It was one of a number of controversial incidents in that period of the Troubles that saw police accused of deploying a deliberate shoot-to-kill tactic.

MI5 had been carrying out surveillance on the shed on the Ballynerry Road North prior to the shootings and a listening device had been concealed in the building.

It later emerged that a tape was destroyed by RUC officers within hours of the fatal incident while a copy held by MI5 was destroyed some years later.

Mr McCauley was convicted of possession of three antique rifles found inside the hayshed but that conviction was subsequently quashed.

In 2015, then director of public prosecutions Barra McGrory QC asked the PSNI and Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman to investigate the events around the destruction of the tapes.

While the ombudsman is responsible for probing allegations against police, the PSNI asked Police Scotland to carry out a probe into security service personnel in relation to the “withholding, concealment and destruction of surveillance evidence”.

On Thursday, more than five years on, Police Scotland said it had compiled a report.

A statement said: “Police Scotland can confirm that a report has recently been submitted to the Chief Constable of the PSNI (Simon Byrne) and the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland (Stephen Herron) in relation to the Operation KLINA investigation, for their consideration.

“In light of this, it would be inappropriate for Police Scotland to comment further at this time.”

A PSNI statement added: “Police Service of Northern Ireland have received a copy of a report from Police Scotland in relation to the Operation KLINA investigation.

“We are also aware that a report has been submitted to the PPS by Police Scotland.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

PA


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