Two officers involved in directing a police chase that resulted in the fatal shooting of a Bleary man also had roles in controversial security force killings during the Troubles, a coroner has been told.
The detective superintendent and inspector were in a PSNI command room overseeing a pursuit that ended with 21-year-old Neil McConville being shot dead in April 2003.
Police were following the car driven by Mr McConville on the correct suspicion it was transporting a firearm.
Near Lisburn, an officer shot him three times amid fears he would drive over another officer he had already knocked down and injured in his efforts to get away.
Mr McConville was the first person killed by the PSNI when it replaced the RUC in 2001. Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan later found the officer who fired the fatal shots had been justified, though her probe criticised the detective superintendent’s management of the operation. The officer retired during the investigation.
A lawyer for Mr McConville’s family told coroner Suzanne Anderson on Tuesday that both officers had been involved in contentious lethal force RUC operations during the Troubles.
Karen Quinlivan QC said the detective superintendent and inspector both had roles in the incident that resulted in IRA man Pearse Jordan, 22, being shot dead by police in west Belfast in 1992. And the inspector had also been in the RUC undercover unit that shot dead Catholic teenager Michael Tighe in one of the alleged so-called shoot-to-kill incidents in 1982. Ms Quinlivan claimed the officer had fired “30 shots” into the hay shed in Craigavon where the 19-year-old was killed. Arguing that all the past events were “potentially relevant” to the inquest into Mr McConville’s death, Ms Quinlivan called for official documentation on the incidents to be disclosed to the family. She said the PSNI should examine the service records of all other officers who had roles on the night Mr McConville was shot.
The lawyer said people may have assumed officers involved in the “shoot-to-kill” episodes would not still be involved in PSNI operations 20 years on. Ms Anderson asked Ms Quinlivan to outline her argument in writing.