Published Date: 24.07.2018
Allegations that a police officer was involved in the 2001 murder of a drug dealing business partner, have been dismissed following a Police Ombudsman investigation.
The claim was first raised with police in the Netherlands in December 2010, when a man walked into a Dutch police station and said he had information about a murder in Northern Ireland.
Officers passed the matter to another Dutch police department, who tried to contact the man several times before referring the case to the PSNI after learning that he may have moved back to Northern Ireland.
Officers here were initially unable to locate him, but left contact details at an address he was associated with. In March 2012, he contacted them.
He told them that in the months before the murder he had been watching a house in Co. Antrim where he believed the victim kept his “drugs money”, as he was hoping to steal it.
During this time, he said he saw the police officer alleged to have been involved in the murder visiting the house.
He also said that he had heard that the officer had been in business with the alleged drug dealer, who had threatened to publicly name his alleged business partners.
On the morning of the murder, he said he had seen the victim and his partner in a small hatchback car which was being followed by three other cars.
He said he knew the occupants of these vehicles were police officers, as he had had previous dealings with them. He believed that they were part of a police surveillance team.
Later the same evening he heard that the alleged dealer had been murdered in Belfast.
He said he had decided to come forward with the information as he was fed up with being harassed on the basis of false information he believed was being given to police by informers.
Given the serious nature of the allegations, the Chief Constable asked the Police Ombudsman to conduct an independent investigation.
Police Ombudsman investigators contacted the man, but he declined to meet them. They also reviewed all relevant police documentation from the original PSNI murder investigation.
The records included a piece of information alleging that the murder victim had seen unnamed police officers carrying out a rape, and that he had used this information to “get police on his side.” There was nothing to corroborate this information.
A retired officer who had been involved in the murder investigation was contacted by Police Ombudsman investigators. He said he could remember the allegation about the alleged rape involving police officers, but said there had been no corroborating evidence.
Enquiries by Police Ombudsman investigators also established that the murder victim had not been under police surveillance on the day of his murder.
The Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, concluded that there was no evidence of police involvement in the murder, or any grounds on which to recommend that any officer be disciplined or prosecuted.