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Docklands bomb survivors urge Met to investigate 'Slab' Murphy, on 20th anniversary of IRA outrage

By Rebecca Black

The victims of the IRA's Docklands bombing will today demand that the Metropolitan Police opens an investigation into veteran south Armagh republican, Thomas 'Slab' Murphy.

Blast survivor Jonathan Ganesh will lead a delegation at a meeting with Met officers on this, the 20th anniversary of the blast that ended a 17-month IRA ceasefire.

Two people - Inam Bashir and John Jeffries - were killed and 250 injured on February 9, 1996, when the massive lorry bomb exploded in the Canary Wharf financial district.

Two men were convicted of the bombing but served just two years in jail due to the early release scheme in the 1998 Belfast Agreement. Now, the bomb victims want the Met to pursue Murphy, claiming he arranged for the Semtex used in the blast to be transported from Libya.

This follows claims by French detective, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, who alleged to BBC Spotlight that Murphy had organised a major shipment of arms, including Semtex, on the Eksund ship which French authorities intercepted off Brittany in 1987. Mr Ganesh said that, as Semtex was the main component of the Docklands bomb, victims feel the Met should investigate these comments.

He described the experience of the bomb as feeling like he was being "buried alive". Mr Ganesh has since worked for the victims of the atrocity.

"Over the last 10 years we have campaigned for equality for victims. There are IRA victims with American passports who were compensated with millions of pounds from Colonel Gaddafi, who helped the IRA kill countless citizens from the UK, Ireland and around the world," he said.

Murphy has never been convicted of a terrorist offence, however he will be sentenced later this week for tax evasion.

The victims group is expected to make a statement after it meets with the Met.

The interception of the Eksund sparked an international police investigation. Mr Bruguiere, who led the Eksund investigation, told BBC Spotlight: "The implication of Libya in terrorist operations in Europe, its strategy and in particular the logistical support for the IRA was known. It was known by the British and French.

"I am quite sure that Murphy was involved. Murphy for me was at the centre of the dossier. I think, as they say in English, he was the handler. The one who was the contact, the manipulator of Hopkins (Adrian Hopkins, the Eksund skipper), and the one who drove the operation."

Mr Bruguiere also claimed four consignments of arms were successfully landed in Ireland from Libya.

The Spotlight programme included claims from former IRA man Kieran Conway, who said: "I was director of intelligence, I went to a series of meetings in the border areas with the IRA, and that would be the first time I met Tom Murphy."

The pair were arrested together in the mid 1980s in Co Louth on suspicion of IRA membership.

"I think it was just a routine meeting as far as I can recall, we were probably making arrangements for something or other," he said. When asked to clarify whether they were on IRA business when arrested, he responded: "Absolutely, yes".

Belfast Telegraph


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