Belfast Telegraph

'The 29th anniversary of John's murder is just a few weeks away and I'm still waiting for the truth'

Dear Mr Hamilton - Chief Constable, I received a very brief telephone call yesterday from a member of your Legacy Investigations Branch informing me that they had concluded extensive forensic tests on Corporal Derek Wood's Browning 9mm that was brought back from Germany by the PSNI.

The Browning 9mm that was seen by millions of viewers worldwide in live television footage, being held by Corporal Wood as he leaned out of his car that day in March 1988 when he and his colleague Corporal David Howes were surrounded by the crowd at the funeral in West Belfast of Kevin Brady, before they were both killed by members of the IRA with that same Browning they wrestled from Derek Wood's hand.

The same Browning that was used by the IRA to kill UDR Lance Corporal Roy Butler in the Park Shopping Centre in August 1988 when he was off duty and simply out shopping with his wife.

The same Browning that was used by the IRA on 11th October 1988 in my family ice cream parlour, Barnam's World of Ice Cream, on Lisburn Road, Belfast along with a Ruger in the murder of my brother John and the shooting and injuring of two innocent customers - boyfriend and girlfriend whose only crime was loving our ice cream too much.

The same Browning that was taken by the IRA to Europe to inflict further casualties but thankfully finally recovered in Germany in June 1990.

The same Browning that the now defunct, and in my opinion, 'not fit for purpose' Historical Enquiries Team could not trace as part of their supposed in-depth cold case review of my brother's murder, in 2008.

To their shame and their highly paid team of senior investigators, it fell to John's son, my nephew Gavin, to trace the Browning. Using his own exhaustive investigations he was able to inform the HET that the Browning they could not find was in Germany. The same Browning that the HET finally admitted to me in one of their reports was of little evidential use because someone within the German Police Authority made the decision that this murder weapon should be taken out of secure evidential storage and used to train new German Police Officers how to dismantle and reassemble a Browning.

You will be aware that I had already asked the HET many years ago to bring the Browning back to Belfast for forensic testing. The HET refused to do so because they felt that all possible potential evidence had been destroyed when so many German Police Officer recruits were allowed to use the weapon as a training aid.

I also felt that the Browning should be brought back to Belfast for no other reason than it was an insult to the memory of those it was used to kill and to their family members that the Browning was in Germany being used for weapons training.

Your Legacy Investigations Branch member yesterday, in his brief telephone call, informed me that all their tests on the Browning had indeed proved negative and therefore no new evidential opportunities were identified.

You will recall that in my book 'They Killed the Ice Cream Man' published last year about my own personal search for the truth surrounding the murder of my brother John, I stated that you, the current Chief Constable, should request that the Browning 9mm be brought back to Belfast from Germany.

I also stated in my book that you or someone within the British Government should demand that someone in authority within the German Government and/or German Police Authority issue an apology for allowing a murder weapon in their evidential care to be used as a training aid.

That they should apologise for destroying all future potential evidence, particularly by multiple user cross-contamination of potentially vital DNA evidence.

When my book was launched last June the PSNI publicly stated that they would look at its content and respond in due course. I was therefore naturally pleased that the decision was subsequently made by the PSNI to retrieve the Browning from Germany and bring it back to Belfast. Although by then I considered the HET's assessment would be correct that it would prove of no forensic evidential value.

Now that your Legacy Investigations Branch has officially confirmed that all potential evidence has been destroyed by that German Police Training aid decision, are you planning to make a public statement about this appalling situation? Are you going to publicly acknowledge that potential future DNA evidence was wilfully destroyed by this German decision? Are you going to publicly demand that someone within the German Police Authority issue an apology?

Are you going to publicly demand that the German Police Authority carry out an investigation to establish who made the decision to remove the Browning from their secure evidence facility and authorise its use as a training weapon for their rookie police officers?

Are you going to publicly demand that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, apologise on behalf of her Government and her German Police Authority for potential evidence being destroyed on that murder weapon that was seen by millions of people worldwide on their TV screens in March 1988?

Or dare I ask that you request that Prime Minister, Theresa May, demand such an apology from Angela Merkel? It will be 29 years next month since my brother John was brutally and callously murdered and similar years since I buried my mum and dad who died prematurely of broken hearts soon after John's murder, despite what their death certificates say.

That 29th anniversary of my brother's murder is just a few weeks away and I am still waiting for the truth to be told about the obfuscation surrounding my brother John's murder. Unanswered questions about why no-one was ever brought to justice despite the police knowing the names of those involved. Unanswered questions surrounding the possibility of a high-profile IRA informer in the pay of Special Branch being protected.

I await with interest your private and more importantly your PUBLIC response Chief Constable.

George Larmour

Belfast Telegraph

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