UK & World News

  • 2 May 2014, 4:29

IRA Murder Victim's Son: 'I Know Who Killed Her'

The son of a woman murdered by the IRA has said he wants justice as police continue to question Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams in connection with the 1972 killing.

Michael McConville, who was just 11 when his mother Jean was snatched by a gang in front of him at the family's Belfast home, said he was glad to see the police doing their job following the high-profile arrest.

He said he knew who had killed his mother but would never tell police for fear his children or other members of his family would be shot by those who took Mrs McConville more than 40 years ago.

The Sinn Fein president agreed to go to Antrim police station on Wednesday, where he was arrested and questioned for four hours. Officers continue to question him.

Police have until Thursday evening to decide whether to release Mr Adams, charge him or apply for more time to question him.

Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said Mr Adams' arrest had been an attempt to influence upcoming elections and referred to the "dark side" of policing.

But David Cameron responded: "There has been absolutely no political interference in this issue."

Northern Ireland's first minister Peter Robinson added: "I would suggest to you that it would be political policing if the PSNI had not questioned those that were deemed to have been involved in any way."

Mr Adams, 65, has strongly denied suggestions made by former republican colleagues that he had a role in ordering the death of Mrs McConville.

She is the most high profile of the "Disappeared" - those who were abducted and killed during the Troubles.

The 37-year-old was killed by the Irish Republican Army after being wrongly accused of spying for the British Army.

Her remains were finally discovered in 2003 on a beach 50 miles from her home. No one has ever been charged with the widow's murder.

Mr McConville told Sky News he knew the names of some of those who took his mother away and had seen their faces because they had not worn masks but had been warned at gunpoint shortly after her abduction and murder to stay silent.

He said: "They would still shoot us. I'm not afraid for myself but I am afraid for my young family."

He said everyone thought the IRA had gone away but they had not and that even 30 or 40 years after the deaths of the "Disappeared" justice had to be done.

In a statement released after his arrest, Mr Adams, a former MP for West Belfast who now sits in the Irish parliament, said: "I believe that the killing of Jean McConville and the secret burial of her body was wrong and a grievous injustice to her and her family.

"While I have never disassociated myself from the IRA and I never will, I am innocent of any part in the abduction, killing or burial of Mrs McConville."

Police reopened the case after a US court ruled researchers at Boston College should hand over interviews for a history project recorded with former paramilitary republicans about the Troubles to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Veteran republican Ivor Bell, 77, was charged in March with aiding and abetting the murder. Five others have been detained and questioned.

Meanwhile, Sinn F? Member of the Legislative Assembly, Martin McGuinness, has telephoned David Cameron to tell him there was no consistency on the issue of state killings.

"The PSNI is duty bound to fully and energetically pursue all and every investigation and I support and encourage them to do so," said Martin McGuinness.

"But I know that some investigations are pursued more vigorously than others. I told the British Prime Minister David Cameron that in a phone call earlier tonight.

"The families of the 11 innocent victims murdered in cold blood by the Parachute Regiment in Ballymurphy, the victims of Bloody Sunday and those killed in the Dublin/Monaghan bombings which the British government are still withholding information on to this day are testament to this reality.

"Only this week the British government told the Ballymurphy families there would be no review of those murders. No reinvestigation, no arrests, no compassion for their loss or grief and certainly no political consistency from the British state.

"British forces are protected and immune. That's why the British government has not signed up to the Haass proposals."

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