Palm print links man to 1973 murder

Published Tuesday, 21 December 2010
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Palm print evidence allegedly links a man to the killing of a Catholic woman in Belfast 37 years ago, a court has heard.

Police claimed there was a scientific basis for charging of Robert Rodgers, 57, with the murder of Eileen Doherty.

The accused, of Tierney Gardens, Belfast, was arrested and charged after the murder case was reopened following a review by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), which identified new evidential opportunities.

As he appeared before the city's Magistrates Court a detective constable said he could connect him with the killing.

The 19-year-old stitcher was shot dead after the taxi she was taking home to west Belfast was hijacked by gunmen.

On 30 September 1973, Ms Doherty called into the Atlas Taxis depot on the Ormeau Road near the city centre at around 10.45pm to get a lift to her home in Andersonstown.

In the depot, she agreed to share a car with two men who said they were going to nearby Finaghy.

The men, who were in their 20s and appeared to be drunk, sat in the back seat while Ms Doherty sat in the front.

A short time into the journey they produced a gun and ordered the driver to stop the blue Chrysler car.

Ms Doherty and the driver managed to get out and run away, but they got trapped by a wire fence near the River Lagan.

While the taxi driver escaped unhurt, the men caught up with Ms Doherty at the Annadale Embankment and one of them shot her three times in the head and body.

She was taken to hospital but died a short time later.

The taxi was found the following morning a mile and a half away in Fountainville Avenue at the bottom of the Lisburn Road.

Questioned by defence lawyer John Finucane, the officer disclosed that palm prints formed part of the evidential case.

He said prints taken from the accused after his arrest were compared with those taken from the crime scene.

Mr Finucane told the court Rodgers strenuously denied the murder charge.

"It will be the defendant's intention to lodge an abuse [of process] application at a later date," the solicitor said.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall said there was sufficient information to connect Rodgers with the alleged offence.

After being told the police file should be ready in "a relatively short period" she remanded the accused on continuing bail.

He will appear again before the court in February.

© UTV News
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18 Comments
big ernest aka the mad monk in east antrim wrote (1,332 days ago):
TOM ; tom if a republican was being hounded by the het over an unsolved sectarian murder ( which there are plenty of ) i can state confidently that your comment would be non exsistent , your the same as the people your trying to preach to , funny you have never commented on any stories about nationalist death squads , so your comment smells of hypocrisy ........
BIG ERNEST AKA THE MAD MONK in east antrim wrote (1,336 days ago):
VERITAS ; COLLUSION LOL , truth is members of the udr , ruc and b specials joined the loyalist gangs to get at republicans or attacking catholics for the treatment they seen on their fellow officers by republican death squads and for the many many innocent injured by republican bombs , an example was the many photo montages passed by low level ruc and udr men of republican criminals , yet this was not sanctioned by the army or police as the prison sentences and inquiry proved at the time , just members fed up with the ira !!! dont forget republicans under the name of the ira alone carried out more murders than the rest of the loyalist and republican groupings put together , yet no one can be caught ? there is no evidence ? ....... i challenge you here and now to prove to anyone that collusion other than low ranking police officers who took it in their own hands existed ? as i have stated 99.9 % of any collusion was disgruntled members of the security forces , fed up with fellow offices getting murdered while in bed or sitting with the family etc , returning the serve was a line one officer used , a certain billy mccaughey ruc / uvf killer , dead now , he is a fine example of what you would call collusion , he was never told to do anything by the police nor did the police know about his uvf links , he enlisted in the uvf and used his ruc cover to operate ....if any senior police or army members are ever charged and it is proven that the top of the army etc was involved i will forever be in your pocket , but you know i am right , the ruc , army etc did not sit down and say right whack him , if that was the case then the ira would have been hurt harder than it was by loyalists or undercover brits posing as loyalists , thats why they targeted catholics , i honestly think that republicans are being protected by the gfa , as i stated to you earlier , loyalist and protestant working class areas see the het as one directional , thats not my view but thats the way they are seen ........
Tom in Belfast wrote (1,338 days ago):
I can't come to comprehend some peoples comments on here, murder is murder! why are individuals more concerned about who is being prosecuted? This was a young innocent woman who had her life taken from her, should we not be pleased that her family will finally receive some Justice?
Tom in Belfast wrote (1,338 days ago):
I can't come to comprehend some peoples comments on here, murder is murder! why are individuals more concerned about who is being prosecuted? This was a young innocent woman who had her life taken from her, should we not be pleased that her family will finally receive some Justice?
Veritas in Belfast wrote (1,338 days ago):
Ernest if the evidence is there and there is a good chance of a conviction all suspects whether Loyalist or Republican should be brought before the courts. I agree with some of the points Peter has raised in that during the 1970's and 80's there were definate signs of collusion between Loyalist groups and the security forces. For this reason it may be now easier to bring murder cases involving Loyalist groups before the courts. I've no doubt over the next months the HET will bring murder charges against certain Republican suspects if evidence is there.
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