Police justify delay recovering car linked to courthouse bomb

March 9, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

Police have affirmed their commitment to fully investigate the bomb at Newry courthouse despite allowing an abandoned car linked to the attack to be removed  without their knowledge.

Reports of a vehicle on fire in Dromintee were received by police around 20 minutes after the bomb went off, however its charred remains lay at the roadside for two days before police moved in, by which time it had mysteriously disappeared.

Justifying the delay, police said they were unable to respond ‘as fully or as quickly as they would have wished’,  citing concerns that the vehicle may have been a ‘lure’ to attack responding officers.

The Examiner was first to report this story last week when we revealed that police had failed to secure the vehicle and had no knowledge of its whereabouts.

Their failure to respond sooner is being viewed as a deep embarrassment for the PSNI, particularly as it has been suggested in some reports that the vehicle may have been used as a getaway by the bombers.

However, in a recent development in the investigation, police revealed on Sunday that they have since recovered a vehicle which they believe, at this stage, is that which was set on fire in Dromintee.

A statement issued read: “the PSNI is committed to investigating the courthouse bomb attack but it has an over-riding responsibility to protect and preserve life. This applies as much to police officers and staff as to everyone else in the community.

A full investigation into both the bomb attack and the vehicle discovered on fire is ongoing. Anyone with any information should contact police on 0845 600 8000 or anonymously call the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.’