Belfast Telegraph

RUC widow's fury at failure to halt killer's temporary release

By Lesley Houston and Cate McCurry

A murdered police officer's widow who tried to stop his killer getting temporary release from prison has branded the justice system a "sham" after her legal challenge was thrown out by a judge.

June McMullin, whose husband John Proctor was gunned down by IRA man Seamus Kearney (58), said she "feels very let down by our justice system" after a judge denied her bid to halt any further releases for Kearney. With the veteran republican set for full release later this month, a High Court judge ruled that her case has become academic.

Kearney was sentenced to life for murdering Mr Proctor in September 1981. The 25-year-old RUC Reserve constable was shot dead just minutes after visiting his wife and their newborn son at the Mid Ulster Hospital in Magherafelt.

In December 2013, Kearney was handed a minimum 20-year prison sentence for the killing but will serve only two years under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. He is due to get out of jail in three weeks' time.

Last night Mrs McMullin (56), who has since remarried, told the Belfast Telegraph she was gutted that the judge made his mind up to "blow the case out the window in minutes".

She also slammed the Prisoner Release Victim Information Scheme which she had registered with after Kearney's conviction, which was supposed to inform her of any of Kearney's potential release dates.

"It didn't work for me," she said. "He got out even before we were told about it.

"The victims' scheme doesn't seem to work. I had to phone them and tell them he was out."

She said that during Monday's court hearing, a Prison Service spokesman apologised for that.

"They sent me an apology but the apology wasn't worth the paper it was written on," she said.

Mrs McMullin, a newsagent from Upperlands near Maghera, said she was very upset to see Kearney near her business during one of his recent releases.

"I was so cross," she said. "He waved down toward the shop, to the left, as if to say, 'Look at me, I'm out,' but if he'd only turned to the right he'd have seen me.

"We fought 32 years to have him behind bars and if he wasn't to serve life he should at least spend the two years in jail."

Ken Funston, an advocacy manager for the South East Fermanagh Foundation, also slammed the decision not to proceed with the court challenge.

"June got a phone call on Friday morning in relation to him being released - they said he was going to be released but it was too late to send a letter so that suggested he was released last weekend," Mr Funston said.

"These letters from the Prison Service only stated that he was going to be released in the future - it never gave any dates."

Belfast Telegraph


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