Watchdog finds no basis to claim policeman behind 2001 murder of drug dealer shot 10 times in car
Allegations that a police officer was involved in the murder of a drug dealing business partner have been dismissed.
The Police Ombudsman found no basis to the claims linked to the killing of Paul Daly, who was gunned down in Belfast city centre in May 2001.
Daly was shot 10 times as he sat in a car with his partner Jacqueline Conroy at Stephen Street.
The allegation of police involvement was first raised with detectives in the Netherlands in December 2010, when a man walked into a police station and said he had information about the brutal execution.
Officers passed the matter to another Dutch police department, which tried to contact the man several times before referring the case to the PSNI after learning that he may have moved back to Northern Ireland.
Officers here were initially unable to locate him, but left contact details at an address he was associated with.
In March 2012, he contacted them.
He told them that in the months before the murder he had been watching a house in Co Antrim where he believed Daly kept his "drugs money", as he was hoping to steal it. During this time he said he saw the police officer alleged to have been involved in the murder visiting the house.
He also said he had heard that the officer had been in business with Daly, who had threatened to publicly name his alleged business partners.
On the morning of the murder he claimed to have seen Daly and his partner in a small hatchback car, which was being followed by three other cars.
He said he knew the occupants of these vehicles were police officers, as he had previous dealings with them. He believed that they were part of a police surveillance team.
Later the same evening he heard that Daly had been murdered in Belfast. He said he had decided to come forward with the information as he was fed up with being harassed on the basis of false information he believed was being given to police by informers. Given the serious nature of the allegations, the Chief Constable asked the Police Ombudsman to conduct an independent investigation into the claims.
Police Ombudsman investigators contacted the man, but he declined to meet them. They also reviewed all relevant police documentation from the original PSNI murder investigation.
The records included a piece of information alleging that the victim had seen unnamed police officers carrying out a rape, and that he had used this information to "get police on his side". There was nothing to corroborate this information.
A retired officer who had been involved in the murder investigation was contacted by Police Ombudsman investigators. He said he could remember the allegation about the alleged rape involving police officers, but said there had been no corroborating evidence.
Enquiries by Police Ombudsman investigators also established that Daly had not been under police surveillance on the day of his murder.
Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire concluded that there was no evidence of police involvement in the murder, or any grounds on which to recommend that any officer be disciplined or prosecuted.