Police to re-examine UDR man's murder

Published Monday, 28 April 2014
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The PSNI has confirmed that it is re-examining the case of the IRA murder victim Lexie Cummings who was gunned down more than three decades ago.

A part-time member of the UDR, the 39-year-old was fatally shot in Strabane, Co Tyrone in June 1982.

He was targeted as he got into his car to drive home for lunch. He had worked at the same drapery store for 25 years.

No-one has ever been brought to justice.

His niece Shelley Gilfillan has been campaigning for a new investigation into the murder.

On Monday, she went to the police headquarters in east Belfast to meet Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris. Also present were senior figures from the DUP.

Shelley told UTV: "I was told that the case is going to be re-opened and re-investigated. That is brilliant news.

"It was a very difficult meeting today, very emotional but I am glad to see that the case is now going to be re-opened.

"It is the right for us victims to see justice, see justice for our loved ones that are no longer here. I think they deserve that."

She admitted that she now feels more reassured that justice will finally be done.

"Absolutely, I absolutely feel a lot more confident now that things are going to be looked into and yes, I've a lot more confidence out there that justice [will be done], we're going to get there."

For Shelley, this new investigation is a major step forward. Decades may have passed but she remains confident the evidence is still there.

Finding it will be not easy job for the police.

Jonathan Craig, DUP MLA and Policing Board member, said: "They are going to do as full investigation of all sources, of forensics within the PSNI, they seem to be scattered right across the organisation, they are going to try and find the forensic evidence that actually existed 30 odd years ago and that was evidence which would have led to a conviction."

The meeting was arranged after the so-called on-the-run controversy, sparked by the collapse of the case against Republican John Downey in February.

The case against the Co Donegal man accused of carrying out the 1982 Hyde Park bombing in London collapsed, after being thrown out by a judge at the Old Bailey.

Downey, 62, had been charged with the murders of four soldiers after his arrest at Gatwick Airport last year. He strenuously denies the charges that had been put to him.

He was detained because his name was on the UK's most wanted list - but in 2007, despite the outstanding warrant, he had been granted an immunity deal.

At the Old Bailey, Judge Mr Justice Sweeney branded the blunder by the PSNI a "catastrophic error".

It is understood that 187 such immunity letters were issued to terror suspects.

Shelley strongly believes one of her uncle's killers may have also received what has been dubbed a comfort letter.

There have already been a number of investigations into the murder of Hugh 'Lexie' Cummings - first the original police investigation, then one by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), and another by the so-called On The Run review team which was carried out in 2003.

According to the Historical Inquiries Team, the review was conducted after a suspect - who is now a Sinn Féin councillor in the Republic - was included "on a list of OTR's supplied by Sinn Fein to H.M Government"

However, the HET said that after this review - requested by the Director of Public Prosecutions - "the DPP rescinded the direction of December 13, 1982, to prosecute" the republican.

© UTV News
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7 Comments
margaret gibson in andersonstown wrote (90 days ago):
I wish I could get a meeting with ass chief constable I wish I could be told that my brother's murder case would be reopened.as my brother was murdered by the british army at the age of 16 its nearon impossible to get anyone to even listen to my family let alone be told our case would be reopened.good luck to any family that can get the justice they deserve my brother was an innocent victim to, surley our family are entitled to the same rights for justice as any other innocent victims family. we will never give up the fight for truth & justice for my brother GERARD GIBSON. (margaret gibson belfast )
Observer in UK wrote (91 days ago):
I hope they get justice, as a sidenote this is another example of the IRA's hypocrisy, when ARMED IRA terrorists were shot, their cry was "shoot to kill". This poor man was shot coming out of work unarmed. Truly cowardly scum, they could not face him when he was in uniform and chose to hide their faces, as I said COWARDLY IRA MURDERING SCUM, that is all they ever were.
fair deal for all in ards wrote (91 days ago):
nobody from either side should get away with murder, they should be brought to face justice for their evil crime.
jackie in belfast wrote (91 days ago):
Why do relatives of murder victims have to go to the police to have the murder cases of their loved ones re-opened ? Why were they closed in the first place ?
Haribo in Limavady wrote (92 days ago):
This is great to see and i hope they catch the killer or killers a lot off these people are sitting at night just waiting for the knock they all know its coming after all these years thinking its all done and dusted
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