Family to sue police for failures in murder probe

May 19, 2014

Mr McShane died at the scene after the gunman shot both teenagers in the head as they played a computer game at the Lower English Street depot.  Shane McArdle (17) died in hospital the following day.

The cold-blooded murder of the two young students sent shockwaves through a community, which had experienced a surge of sectarian killings at the time, and was particularly felt in Crossmaglen, from where Gavin’s father, Matt, originated.

Last week, his grieving family vowed to continue the fight to bring a main suspect in the murder to justice.  The man is suspected of being an agent for MI5 and the RUC Special Branch and is also believed to have been involved in up to 12 murders across north Armagh and east Tyrone at the time.

Gavin’s mother, Maria McShane, says her family has been treated “very badly” by police since her son’s murder.

It is understood that a recent Relatives for Justice report carried out into the killings revealed a number of shortcomings in the police investigation, including the fact that Mr McShane’s clothes were destroyed by police, leaving it impossible to gather DNA evidence. Files relating to the case were also destroyed after police claimed they were contaminated by asbestos at Gough Barracks in Armagh.  Police have also been unable to account for two of the three bullets fired in the attack.

Relatives for Justice spokesman, Mark Thompson, said the original police investigation was characterised by “a series of forensic, ballistic and other significant failings that would warrant a fresh investigation”.

Solicitor for the McShane family, John Finucane, revealed that a complaint is also to be lodged with the Police Ombudsman.

“As a result of a fairly detailed report completed by Relatives for Justice and what is clear from the case itself, there’s a strong case of negligence on behalf of the RUC as a result of both omissions and commissions,” he said.