Belfast Telegraph

Roseann Mallon murder: RUC pair's no-show at inquest detrimental to case, court told

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

The inability of senior police officers to testify at an inquest into the murder of pensioner Roseann Mallon has been detrimental to the case, a barrister has claimed.

Two former RUC officers who could have provided insight into the level of co-operation between the Army, Special Branch and murder investigators have been excused from giving evidence, Belfast Coroner's Court heard.

Detective Chief Superintendent Eric Anderson and his deputy Detective Inspector Daniel O'Sullivan, who led a specialist unit set up to look at claims of security force collusion in the 1994 loyalist killing, have submitted medical certificates stating they were unable to take part in proceedings because of ill-health.

Sean Doran, representing the Coroner's Service, said: "We are at something of a disadvantage that leading members of the team are not able to assist us."

The inquest, which is now in its third week at the Laganside court complex, was also told:

  • How murder squad detectives never viewed surveillance tapes from secret Army cameras overlooking the crime scene.
  • Detectives did not receive a list of cars in the area prior to the shooting until four months later.

Ms Mallon (76), from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, was gunned down as she watched television on May 8, 1994.

The UVF said it was responsible for the attack and claimed the gunmen had been targeting some of the pensioner's relatives who were involved with the republican movement.

Secret Army surveillance equipment including a camera was later discovered in a field overlooking the Mallon house and adjacent engineering works at Cullenrammer Road, Dungannon, sparking allegations of collusion.

High Court Judge Mr Justice Weir, the coroner in the case, heard that a report was produced by Mr Anderson and his team almost a year after the sectarian killing.

It concluded that the covert operation code-named Paucity Two had been lawfully authorised and professionally managed.

It also found no evidence of collusion and concluded that the camera equipment had been unable to record the murder scene at night.

Philip Moorehead, a former RUC detective constable who formed part of the Anderson inquiry unit, said: "We took no part in the investigation of the murder of Ms Mallon."

He described visiting Army bases across Northern Ireland where he interviewed soldiers, recovered log books, operation room records and edited surveillance tapes but said their focus was on recovering the lost spy equipment.

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