Doubts over ballistic tests

BALLISTICS tests on the gun used to kill pensioner Roseann Mallon were done by RUC Special Branch officers who might not have been properly qualified, an inquest has heard.

Ms Roseann Mallon (76), was gunned down as she watched television at her home in Dunngannon, Co Tyrone, on May 8 1994.

The Czech-bought assault rifle, now linked to 11 other murders and two attempted murders, was first examined at the Weapons and Explosives Research Centre (Werc) – a previously unheard of unit located within the Northern Ireland Forensic Science Laboratory, the court was told. Mr Justice Weir, who is hearing the long-awaited inquest, said: “This is the first time it has ever come to my attention that there was a forensic system.” Ms Mallon (76) was gunned down as she watched television at a house near Dungannon, Co Tyrone on May 8 1994. The spinster, who had been staying with relatives because she felt vulnerable, was unable to escape when two loyalist gunmen indiscriminately opened fire on the bungalow on Cullenrammer Road.

The UVF said its mid-Ulster brigade had been responsible (although it was widely beleived to be members of Billy Wright‘s LVF gang) and were targeting two of her nephews Christopher Mallon, who was not home at the time and Martin Mallon who lived half a mile away. In the wake of the shooting, British army spying equipment was found in a nearby field sparking claims of security force collusion. Last week it emerged that the Historical Enquries Team (HET) – a specialist unit set up to re-examine Troubles-related cold cases – had linked the murder weapon to the UVF killings of Charles and Theresa Fox at the Moy, Co Armagh, in 1992, as well as the murders of John Quinn, Dwayne O’Donnell, Malcolm Nugent and Tommy Armstrong outside a bar in Cappagh, Co Tyrone in 1991. But, Barry McDonald QC, who is representing the Mallon family, said the rifle was now known to have been involved in at least eight incidents that resulted in 11 murders and two attempted murders.


He said inaccurate information that the gun had no previous previous history was fed into the the system by Special Branch. Mr MacDonald said: “The practice seems to have been when cartrige cases were collected they were forwared to the Forensic Science Laboratory of Northern Ireland but it was the Werc who conducted their investigations and provided a steer. “The upshot is that these incorrect conclusions have been made by a section of Special Branch in circumstances where the object of this entire exercise – that’s this inquest – is to allay suspicion and rumour about the involvement of Special Branch.” Judge Weir told the court he had never heard of Werc despite a lengthy career as a defence barrister and judge. He also expressed concern that they were not ballistics experts and said he would be demanding a full explanation on how they operated and who took the decision to conceal their existence. Martin Mallon said the family had been left bemused by the latest revelations. He said: “We have had Special Branch hiding behind screens, we have heard evidence about burning notebooks and items being destroyed. We have consistently heard about Special Branch being a force within a force and now it appears that Werc was unit within a unit. Notorious killer Billy Wright and two other loyalists were arrested and questioned about Ms Mallon’s murder but no-one has ever been convicted. Sinn Fein MLA Sean Lynch, who sits on the Stormont justice committee and is a Mallon family friend, said: “It is obvious that the British state is covering up, delaying and prevaricating on vital evidence – particularly around ballistics.” The inquest has now been adjourned until May to allow the HET to complete its investigation into 24 murders in the East Tyone area between 1988 and 1994 – including Ms Mallon’s murder.

With many thanks to: The Irish News.

Platform used by gunmen to shoot at police convoy

‘These dissident republicans have absolute contempt for their own community – Will Kerr

GUNMEN built a makeshift platform to launch a carefully planned attack on police in a built-up area of North Belfast. A rifle found a short distance away from the attack in Ardoyne on Thusday night was thought to have been dumped by the gunmen as they fled.

Photograph of platform used to fire on PSNI/RUC

The military issue Kalashnikov-style automatic weapon was taken away for forensic examination. It was found in an alleyway a short distance from Butler Walk where the gunmen had erected a platform from scaffolding at the side of a high wall. Shots were fired at a convoy of police vehicles at around 7.10pm as they traveled along the Crumlin Road en route to the loyalist protest camp at Twaddell Avenue in North Belfast. Police said three armoured vehicles came under fire, two of which were towing illuminated warning signs towards the Ardoyne interface. At least 10 bullets hit two of the vehicles. While no-one was hurt, Assistance Chief Constable Will Kerr said the officers were shaken by the attack. “These dissident republicians have absolute contempt for their own community”, he said. “They fired military grade weapons, in a highly built up area. “There is no doubt the principle target was police officers.” The senior officer said he beleived the weapon recovered was linked to the attack. A silver Passat car hijacked on Thursday morning in the Poleglass area of West Belfst was also found burning in Elmfield Street in Ardoyne.

The attack was launched out of range of the Twaddell camp occupied by loyalists protesting against a ban on parading through Ardoyne. 283631_211947858933644_120706324_nAround 40 familes in the area were moved from their homes, with many not permitted to return until yesterday evening while police carried out follow-up searches at several locations. Holy Cross Primary School was also forced to close as a result of the police operation. SDLP councillor Nichola Mallon said the people of Ardoyne want those responsible to “get off their backs”. “This is the latest incident to cause major disruption in the area,” she said. “Between the nightly protest parades and the car that was hijacked in Jamaica Street and used to transport the bomb into the city centre, people are concerned things are spiralling, that every time Ardoyne appears on the news it is for negative reasons and that is not an accurate reflection.” Shame Fein assembly member Gerry (the mouthpeice) Kelly said the attack “endangered the local community in Ardoyne”. “Anyone could have been in the vacinity of Holy Cross Chapel at this time which was the direction in which the shots were fired,” he said. “The PSNI were traveling to Twaddell Avenue where they are in place each night in order to prevent illegal marches past Ardoyne. The people of Ardoyne understand this. “Whoever was behind this attack need to come forward to this community and explain their actions.” DUP MP for North Belfast Nigel Dodds said: “This would obviously appear to be the work of dissident republicians and I would hope that the community in Ardoyne will stand against those responsible and with police as they carry out their investigations.”

With many thanks to: Allison Morris, The Irish News.


Sectarian Harassment/Assault visited on Wife and Minor children of POW by MagHaberry screws


  The IRPWA have been in contact with the wife of a current Republican prisoner in MagHaberry gaol with regard to the harassment, humiliation, degredation and assaults on families and minor children on their way to and from visits in the sectarian bastion that is MagHaberry. It also casts a light on the abuse and hatred directed towards minor children of Republican POWs and the Hoops that the authorities try to make them jump through to ensure they achieve a visit with their parent. We ask all to read and envisage the deliberate trauma inflicted on the families and children on the very basic right of visiting a Husband/Father. Take in the deliberate blackmailing directed at them to accept the abuse with the underlying threat of being barred from visiting. Not satisfied with torturing and forcibly stripping Republican POWs and Internees within MagHaberry, the sectarian authorities are now attempting to visit the abuse on their families,wives, friends and minor children. The sectarian hatred directed towards visitors of Republican prisoners is palpable. Below is a draft from the wife (in her own words) of a current Republic prisoner.Please take the time to read and share. This must stop and we need to ensure that each and every one of us do all in our power to ensure that it does!   I contacted the solicitors about what had happened at the gaol on 4th May 2013…… We all travelled up to the Gaol as usual, 3 children – 11,7 and 5months old – to visit Daddy and hubby, but as I booked in – the female enrolment officer said “that my daughter(11) had to be photographed and fingerprinted before she could proceed to visit her Daddy,” I questioned her as to “Why she would need my childs photograph and fingerprint scanned? What possible reason did they need a minors photograph and fingerprints to be logged into the system to visit her Daddy?” She couldnt answer me, she just kept replying “Because!!” and then eventually she said “because its our rules!!!” I continued to question her, all I wanted was a legitimate response , as to why they needed an 11year olds photograph and fingerprint, I pointed out that she is a minor, that she is unable to stand at the dog on her own as it states on the notice ” all u16 to stand with parents ….” ( not 100% on the exact words of this notice), plus I told her that my daughter is unable to purchase many items in the shops as she is a minor. But as I continued in questioning her, she became aggressive and replied again ” its our rules!!” which in a sarcastic tone I replied ” Oh I see cause its your rules, its quite obvious that you have no clue why, so therefore get me an SO or the Governor who then may able to inform myself as to why they need my 11year old childs photograph and fingerprint….!! The SO came and asked could he help, in which I asked him why……..same question as before… he just replied that it was for child protection!!!!! I replied to him that I am my childs parent, I the responsible adult for my children – so why did they need her photograph and fingerprint, he just repeated child protection – I asked for an adequate answer, but still haven’t received any, solicitor has also written a letter demanding a response and they too have received nothing. I asked for any written material that should be available for parents visiting the Gaol in relation to children being photographed and fingerprinted – he couldn’t give anything, all I got was that the duty governor agreed with him.. this argument continued for approximately 20mins – at which the female officer refused to give me her name, tried to call others to book in, which I told them and her that I wasnt finished getting booked in and that I wanted a legitimate answer, not a bullshit excuse of “our rules, or child protection!!!” she kept calling others forward but I still wouldnt move until she dealt with myself and my children. So she got up and walked away – my 3 children and I stood there for approximately another 10 -15 mins waiting, we tried to get her back, get the SO, get the other screws to call her or someone to deal with the issue at hand – but they all refused, they were too busy, even though she was skulking out round the back at the parcels area, my children seen her… and I pointed out that all they had to do was ring the SO… they refused, so my daughter joined the queue – so that the male screw would have to deal with us, whilst I stood waiting on the female screw to come back…. after waiting ages, my back in agony – the children getting upset not knowing if they were going to see their Daddy ( only one visit we have) the SO juked his head round the door and disappeared again, then the female enrolment officer came back to her desk – ignoring me and calling others forward, I told them and her – that as she walked away she hadnt finished dealing with me, an english one from the queue proceeded to come forward telling me to move, so that others could be booked in, he was nicely told to not to start!. – all 2 eldest children were anxious and the 5 month old was getting very restless, Erin was afraid of not getting to see her Daddy and she said “Mummy I will get my photo and fingerprint done!!!!” we eventually got booked in – my 11 year daughters photograph and fingerprints taken and enrolled onto maghaberry prison system to visit her Daddy. I told the female enrolment officer that I wanted her name , number – she said she wasnt obliged to give me these details even though I would be making a complaint against her and the management with regards my 11 year being photographed and fingerprinted, I told her that I would be contacting my solicitor. We proceeded through to wait on the bus… eventually we were called forward – and taken by bus down to the main prison area, at the first book in point – we had to be scanned in by finger print again, my daughter was in front of me and this female screw had taken my daughters ticket.. on her ticket it said “system fault” for her fingerprint but she scanned Erin in with no problem and didnt ask her to do her fingerprint.. but when the screw placed the ticket in the hatch, my daughter tried to retrieve it and in reaching it and trying to walk away the screw closed the plastic hatch thing on her thumb, Erin looked at me and said she “aahh she hurt my thumb” I looked at her and at the screw she just smirked and took my ticket, I gave her the benefit of the doubt that it was an accident, until she done the exact same to me – only this time she closed it on my four fingers, whilst I held my 5 month old in my other arm, I glared at her and she ignored us, others following us witnessed these events and are willing to come forward, I knew she done this deliberately but I waited, I was just going to log it with my solicitor and make a complaint. One of the visitors after me said loudly – I’ll watch my fingers! I said you’d need to!… we walked on round to the dog, continued through the other parts unhindered, we got into the visit area and DD and the lads were already sitting waiting on us, we had a great visit besides all that had happened before. Visit called and we had to stand and wait to be called out of visit area, waiting a wee while. On the way out we scanned out no problem from the visit area section, no finger scan was asked of Erin… so out we went to the next area, had to sit and wait on the bus, got on through to the last scan out area before the bus (turnstile area) and it was the same female screw who had assaulted my daughter and I by closing the plastic thing on our fingers, so my daughter gave her the ticket and she shouted at her, “put your finger on the scanner!” staring at the child…. I spoke up and said her “fingerprint doesnt work,” she continued staring at my child and said it again, her voice sounding aggressive, Erin looking at me for reassurance – I told the screw “it doesnt work, as you can see on the ticket it states – system fault,” but she glared at the child and nastily said “sometimes it works, now, put your finger on the scanner,” I said “it doesnt work,” Erin then told her “No, it doesnt work!” and I said “sure you can book the child without the finger being scanned, you do it for others, hers doesnt work,!” and so she did, Erin got her ticket back, and waited whilst I tried to book out…. I tried to give the ticket into the hatch bit, but she shut it closed and smirked at me, telling me to give her the ticket – but all she has to do is slide the plastic bit out of the way, I told her I dont want my fingers slammed this time…. she wouldnt take the ticket and said slide it through, so I pushed it a wee bit towards her… so she eventually took the ticket, she was just being crooked…. so I placed my finger on the scanner, it turned red, I held it there and then had taken it off – remembering that I have my 5month old son in my arms still, she said do it again, staring at me with a smirk, “so I placed my finger on the scanner again, waited until it turned red – held it there for a few seconds again and lifted it off,” she said do it again – I said Ive already done it twice, just book me out sure….she said “no we have up to three times to do it!! now, put your finger on the scanner again!!” I said “no, Im not doing it again – you’re doing this deliberately, I said just book me out sure yeh can do it with others….” she refused to do this, and called the next person forward, but the woman after me, gave her ticket but said scan this girl out first, as did the gentlemen who were also standing in the queue waiting to get out, the screw kept calling for someone else to come forward , but they all wanted her to deal with me first, so the screw realised that no one was going to book out before I could, she hissed “fine, yehs can stand there” and she swung around in her chair, turned her back on us and ate her cup a soup/ pot noodle!!! now the baby was very agitated due to the whole episode prior to our visit, he wouldnt feed his bottle – he was upset, and now we were being put through another whole ordeal at the hands of these sectarian screws…. the children were restless and wanted out, they wanted to go home – we were now being held hostages in the prison, as we usually are – as they always keep us waiting deliberately…….. so we stood there waiting to get out, she turned around and spat at me, put your finger on the scanner now – I refused , and the men and woman spoke up – saying this girl has already placed her finger on the scanner twice – now just let her and the kids out, but the screw called for back up – and this huge man, walked past us and in behind the screen, came to the window pointing his finger at me, saying “Im telling you to put your finger on the scanner,” I told him that I had already and that she was doing this on purpose, and the other people spoke up also stating the same….. and I asked him what did he mean hes telling me to put my finger on the scanner – at which the gentlemen also questioned him on this, he made no reply and left the room, but he came out from behind the screen, the men asked him what he meant, this male screw was rude and abnoxious, the men also explained that I had already done that and that I had 3 children and to let me go, the screw slabbered something to them – children were getting very anxious and annoyed, baby whinging and tired, the screw came and stood directly in front of me pointing his finger, telling me to put my finger on the scanner – I told him again I had already done this, and that she could just book me out – he then said are you refusing to comply, are you refusing to comply – (raising his voice and speaking over me) as I tried to speak to him, he again said are you refusing to comply directly in my face, I told him I didnt refuse as I had already scanned my finger twice – Other people also spoke up on my behalf – he said that she said it didnt work and that I was refusing, and hes taking her word for it – I said so you’re taking her word for it……….(exact wording has got hazy… at this point, everyone was talking and asking questions..) the male screw said to the female one, you dont need to answer her Joanne, ( now I had previously asked this particular female screw what her name was on another occasion – but she refused to give it) we all spoke at once, saying that I did scan my finger twice and that I have 3 children, and to let me out – I told him that she was being vindictive and doing this deliberately – he didnt care what I or anyone had to say – he just said to me put your finger on the scanner, I tried talking to him again yet again he started his rant are you refusing to comply, (loudly and in my face) then you are barred from visiting any prisons in northern ireland until this is fully investigated……are you refusing, are you refusing!!! I said I didnt refuse and I already had scanned twice, he just said do it again, until she (female screw) was satisfied……the argument continued….. but I scanned it again, I literally only tipped the scanner, she said do it again and yet again I tipped it with my finger and all of a sudden it worked, she sat there with a smirk, now I asked for the male screws name (6ft + huge in size – he was towering over me, intimidating a 5ft woman with 3 children) he gave me his name as Senior Officer Dalzell…… another screw accompanied him on his escapade….. so after all that, he smirked and smiled saying was that hard… he smirked and smiled, walking out with the other screw, – he stood outside and said goodbye – safe journey as we got onto the bus!!!………. female screw (Joanne) on another visit – whilst I was booking out, she shouted through the glass – just as I was booking out – “keep your children with you!” – I replied my children are with me – Damien and Erin were standing at the turnstile and the baby in my arms….. she just glared at me and said it again – I pointed to my children and telling her they are with me… plus the woman behind me spoke up and said – its my child, I then said to this screw Sure it was you who let the child out through the turnstile for God sake……. and from that she been as ignorant as sin…….. I have witnesses to all of this, and I have asked my solicitor to retrieve CCTV and audio recordings of the incident….. We are doing them for assault on a minor and myself, Judicial Review for 11 year old photographed and fingerprinted, intimidation, discrimination and sectarian bigotry………………… . Then myself and another fella received letters telling us that we would be suspended from visiting the Gaol if our behaviour persists…… Sean – 6months barred, and on my letter it stated – for a considerable length……… Derry Sceal Have just put up a status from IRPWA of the sectarianism, assault, violation, fingerprinting and photographing of minor children of Republican POWs in MagHaberry.. I would ask everyone to read and share as widespread as possible.. This cannot continue:

Posted on behalf of : Derry Sceal.

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