UK & World News

  • 22 March 2014, 11:29

Jean McConville Case: Ex-IRA Chief Charged

A former Irish Republican Army commander has been charged in connection with the murder of a mother of 10 more than 40 years ago.

Ivor Bell, 77, is due to appear in court in Belfast today accused of aiding and abetting in the murder of Jean McConville and membership of the IRA.

He was detained at his home in the Andersonstown district of west Belfast on Tuesday.

Mrs McConville was abducted by an IRA gang of up to 12 men and women at her home at Divis Flats, Belfast, in December 1972 after being accused of spying for the British.

The 37-year-old was taken at gunpoint and shot in the back of the head.

Her murder was one of the most notorious incidents during the Troubles.

For years she was one of the so-called Disappeared, those abducted and killed by republican paramilitaries during this period and buried in unmarked graves.

Mrs McConville's children were told their mother had abandoned them.

It was not until August 2003 that her remains were found over the border in the Republic of Ireland, on Shelling Hill beach in County Louth - 50 miles from her home.

The IRA had admitted responsibility for her killing in 1999, although no one has ever been charged with her murder.

An investigation by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman rejected allegations Mrs McConville had passed information to the British.

Some of Mrs McConville's children have accused Sinn F? president Gerry Adams of directly ordering their mother's killing, claims he denies, along with allegations he was involved in the IRA.

Mr Bell and Mr Adams were part of an IRA negotiating team which headed to London for ceasefire talks in 1972.