UK & World News

  • 2 May 2014, 15:12

Adams Arrest: Victim's Daughter Promises Names

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has spent a second night in police custody after his arrest over the notorious IRA murder of Jean McConville.

It comes as Ms McConville's eldest daughter, Helen McKendry, told journalists she was prepared to name the people responsible for her mother's death.

Ms McKendry told news organisations that she no longer feared reprisals by republicans.

Police are questioning Mr Adams about the killing of the Belfast mother-of-10in 1972.

The 65-year-old has always vehemently denied allegations levelled by former republican colleagues that he ordered the murder of Ms McConville.

She was wrongly suspected of being an informer to the British Army.

Mr Adams was arrested at Antrim police station on Wednesday night after voluntarily presenting himself for interview.

The former West Belfast MP and current representative for Co Louth in the IrishDail can initially be held for up to 48 hours without charge.

That allows officers to question Mr Adams until around 8pm today.

But detectives have the option to apply to a judge today for his detention to be extended for further questioning.

Ms McConville was dragged screaming from her children in the Divis flats in west Belfast by a gang of up to 12 men and women.

She was interrogated, shot in the back of the head and then secretly buried - so becoming one of the "Disappeared" victims of the Troubles.

Her body was not found until 2003 on a beach in Co Louth, 50 miles from her home.

Ms McKendry'swillingness to speak out was in contrast to her brother, Michael McConville.

He said earlier that he was still not prepared to name those involved even though he knew who they were, because of the consequences for his family.

"Everybody thinks that the IRA has gone away but they have not. If we tell we will be shot," he said.

Mr Adams's long-standing party colleague and friend, Stormont Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, has claimed the arrest was aimed at inflicting political damage on Sinn Fein in the month of an election.

He said it was an example of the "dark side" of policing trying to flex its muscles.

But Prime Minister David Cameron rejected any suggestion that the arrest was politically motivated.

"There has been absolutely no political interference in this issue," he said.

Mr Cameron phoned Mr McGuinness and Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson on Thursday night to provide reassurance on this issue.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) chief constable Matt Baggott has vowed the investigation into Ms McConville's death will be "effective, objective and methodical".

No one has ever been charged with the murder of the 37-year-old widow.

But after years without progress in the criminal investigation there have been a series of arrests in recent weeks.

Veteran republican 77-year-old Ivor Bell was charged in March with aiding and abetting the murder. Five other people have been detained and questioned.

The recent police activity followed a decision by a US court compelling a Boston university to hand over to the PSNI recorded interviews with republicans about Ms McConville's murder.

Boston College interviewed a number of former paramilitariesabout the Troubles on the understanding transcripts would not be published until after their deaths.

But that undertaking was rendered ineffective when the court ordered last year that tapes that contained claims about the killing be given to detectives.

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