Man in court over McConville murder

Published Saturday, 22 March 2014
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A veteran republican charged in connection with the 1972 abduction and murder of widow and mother-of-10 Jean McConville has been refused bail.

Man in court over McConville murder
Ivor Bell is taken away by police after being refused bail (© Pacemaker)

Ivor Bell, who is 77 and from Ramoan Gardens in west Belfast, appeared in court on Saturday morning accused of aiding and abetting murder and membership of the IRA.

A number of relatives of Ms McConville attended the hearing.

Bell was arrested on Tuesday in west Belfast by officers from the PSNI's Serious Crime Branch. A court granted police until Friday night to question him.

The court heard officers moved against the pensioner on the basis of an interview he had allegedly given researchers compiling a Troubles archive at Boston College in America - tapes a US court ordered to be handed over to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

In court on Saturday the prosecution said they did not want Bell to get bail because there was a serious risk he could abscond.

Bell's solicitor said a surety of £200,000 has been offered, adding that due to his age and ill health he was unlikely to take flight.

However the judge refused bail and Bell was remanded in custody due to appear in court again in a month's time.

Mrs McConville was kidnapped from her flat in the Divis area of west Belfast in December 1972 and shot by the IRA.

The 37-year-old's body was not recovered until years later, when it when it was found on a beach in Co Louth in August 2003.

Michael McConville, son of Jean McConville, issued a statement on Saturday.

It said: "Recent developments have brought the media focus back on to Jean McConville, who was one of the Disappeared.

"At this time, as always, we remember her as our mother, whom we loved so much.

"The pain of losing her has not diminished over the decades since she was taken from us murdered and secretly buried. She is in our hearts and our thoughts always.

"Whatever the future holds nothing will ever change that".

© UTV News
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2 Comments
paul ohare in belfast wrote (182 days ago):
if this is the start of getting people before the courts for crimes lets make sure that all groups are included in this includes the British army RUC/UDA UDR/UVF not just one side please as has been in the past
S.B. in Belfast wrote (183 days ago):
Sinn Fein may be silent but there's a lot of real anger within the Republican and Nationalist community at this arrest. It certainly looks like a sop to Unionism after the On The Runs and is bad faith by the PSNI and British government. If the Boston tapes are now going to be used to arrest and prosecute 77 year old Republicans Sinn Fein will have to reassess their position within the Executive. Unionism and the Tories are attempting to renegotiate the Good Friday Agreement and there is real current unease within the Nationalist community. If this is going to be a precedent we should now expect arrests and charges for Bloody Sunday and Loyalist criminal Godfathers who seem to get away with what they want. This continued betrayal of the Good Friday Agreement will only drive more mainstream Republicans away from the Peace Process.
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