Transcripts

Return to the list of transcripts

Full Hearings

Hearing: 4th December 2008, day 86

Click here to download the LiveNote version

 

 

 

 

 

 


----------------------

 

 

ROSEMARY NELSON

PUBLIC INQUIRY

 

 

----------------------

 

held at:
The Interpoint Centre
20-24 York Street
Belfast BT15 1AQ


on Thursday, 4 December 2008
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 86

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Thursday, 4 December 2008

2 (10.15 am)

3 (Proceedings delayed)

4 (10.20 am)

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Will the witness please take the oath?

6 MR BRENDAN MCSTRAVICK (sworn)

7 Questions by MR SAVILL

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Please sit down.

9 Yes, Mr Savill?

10 MR SAVILL: Could you give us your full name, please?

11 A. Brendan McStravick.

12 Q. Mr McStravick, I think it is right to say that you have

13 given a statement to this Inquiry, and if we could just

14 call up on to the screen, please, RNI-813-621

15 (displayed), we can see the first page of your

16 statement. Then RNI-813-627 (displayed), that's your

17 signature and the date of 21 November last year?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Thank you very much. Mr McStravick, can I just begin by

20 asking you what your connection is to the local area of

21 Lurgan, or certainly was, at the time of 1999?

22 A. At the time in 1999, I was two years or so into my

23 retirement as a headmaster. I was born within that area

24 and have lived in that area all my life.

25 Q. Thank you. And I think it is right to say, certainly

 

 

2

 

1 looking at your statement, in the first paragraph that

2 we can see on the screen there, you say that you would

3 have known and had contact with both Mrs Nelson and her

4 husband.

5 What was that contact and how did you know her?

6 A. I have known Rosemary Nelson since she was born because

7 her parents lived adjacent to my parental home, and

8 I have known her parents for a lifetime, and several

9 members of her family, one of whom is a teaching

10 colleague -- two of whom are teaching colleagues.

11 Q. If I may ask you this, would you describe your

12 relationship with her and her family as being one of

13 friendship?

14 A. I wouldn't go so far as friendship to her and her

15 family, but I knew them in this sense: that most local

16 families came to parents' nights in my school and I

17 would have met them on such an occasion. And, of

18 course, later in my statement I knew Rosemary Nelson as

19 a paragon of legal virtue when I met her professionally.

20 Q. Perhaps we can explore that by me asking you this

21 question: what was your dealing with her as a solicitor,

22 and opinion of her?

23 A. My dealings with her concerned the admission or

24 non-admission of pupils when they came on to the

25 disciplinary procedures of our school. I had initially

 

 

3

 

1 to adjudicate that and give a decision through my board

2 of governors. Mrs Nelson was then employed by the

3 parents of pupils to intercede legally on their behalf.

4 We would have had oral communication by telephone and

5 written communication by letter, of course, and during

6 that time, I repeat, she was a paragon of legal virtue.

7 Q. And as a person, are you able to give an opinion of her?

8 A. I certainly am. From my dealings with her, from my

9 knowledge through newspaper reports, she was always

10 considered in the highest estimation by my fellow

11 educationers and by the public and by the local

12 community in particular.

13 Q. And can you help me with this? Would you say that in

14 your dealings with her, you noticed or became aware of

15 any degree of, if I can use the word, favouritism

16 towards one section of the community or individuals over

17 another?

18 A. Quite the contrary. I found her an objective legal

19 officer in all those matters.

20 Q. Now, I would like to ask you to cast your mind back as

21 far as March 1999, and please rest assured that this is

22 not a test of your memory. You have made a number of

23 statements in this regard and we will look at those in

24 due course. But the weekend prior to her murder is

25 something I would like to just ask you about, if I may.

 

 

4

 

1 The questions I'm going to ask you, please could you

2 answer bearing in mind the activities in particular on

3 Sunday evening of that weekend.

4 Now, if we could call up on to the screen, please,

5 page RNI-813-623 (displayed), and if we can just

6 highlight the first paragraph, please? You say in the

7 context of the weekend, in the second line:

8 "I felt that something was going on."

9 Yes?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Can you see that?

12 A. I do.

13 Q. I want to ask you about Sunday evening rather than the

14 days preceding that.

15 What is your recollection of the security force

16 activity on the Sunday evening and Sunday night,

17 generally speaking?

18 A. I would like to say first of all that it was

19 a continuation of the weekend clampdown on that

20 particular area, including my own area, which is

21 adjacent. I observed, as my statement states there and

22 elsewhere, that it was mainly carried out by the British

23 Army, English regiment, rather than the Northern Ireland

24 regiment, the Royal Irish Regiment, sometimes referred

25 to still as UDR. I saw little, if any, then RUC, except

 

 

5

 

1 on the periphery.

2 Q. Can I just be clear, we are talking about the Sunday?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Yes, thank you. Go on.

5 A. And I saw and felt that, as from the beginning of that

6 weekend, as from Sunday, when I used the words "going

7 on", from my experience throughout what are called the

8 Troubles, that there was some special reason why (a)

9 there was a clampdown and (b) it was continuing right

10 into some time on Sunday evening.

11 Q. Thank you. We are going to come to a particular

12 checkpoint in a moment, though not literally. But as

13 far as the activity you saw on the Sunday was concerned,

14 can you just give us a little bit more detail, if you

15 can, in terms of activity on the ground, troops walking

16 around, helicopters. Are you able to recall that?

17 A. Yes. There seemed to be an almost continued helicopter

18 surveillance, obviously from above, because of the noise

19 levels that I heard. And all vehicles moving in and out

20 for a period, including our own, seemed to be checked.

21 Q. Yes. And as far as you are concerned, comparing it to

22 your past experiences, could you tell me, please, how

23 you would describe the military activity, comparatively?

24 A. The military activity was at a higher level than I had

25 previously experienced having travelled that road

 

 

6

 

1 privately and professionally for 41 years, and that

2 includes the total period of the Troubles.

3 Q. When you say "having travelled that road", I presume you

4 don't mean figuratively; you mean a particular road?

5 A. Oh, yes, that road.

6 Q. Which road?

7 A. Tannaghmore Hill and right down to what is called the

8 Mile House corner. That was my private and professional

9 route generally to avoid the railway crossing.

10 Q. Yes, we will have a look at a map in a moment. I won't

11 take you to it, but in your statement you describe the

12 presence on the weekend before the murder as unique --

13 paragraph 7 -- but it certainly was exceptional. Not

14 unique but certainly exceptional. Do you see that in

15 the first line?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Do you stand by that now?

18 A. I do, of course.

19 Q. Yes. But just returning to the last sentence of

20 paragraph 6, if we may, you, if I may say so, fairly

21 make this observation:

22 "Of course I did not know their ulterior motives,

23 but what was happening did strike me as odd."

24 So on the one hand you are saying it was something

25 out of the ordinary, but if I can paraphrase your

 

 

7

 

1 thoughts, you are saying of course there may well have

2 been good reason for it?

3 A. Of course.

4 Q. Now, as far as helicopter activity on Sunday night is

5 concerned, you said that it was ongoing, I think. Is

6 that fair?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And if we look at paragraph 8 of your statement, five

9 lines from the bottom, we can see you say:

10 "I would not be able to say what time the helicopter

11 noise commenced or what time it finished, due to the

12 passage of time."

13 Again, is that fair comment?

14 A. It is, yes.

15 Q. Now, turning to a slightly different subject, if I may,

16 are you familiar with the term "come-ons"?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Could you tell us what that means to you, please?

19 A. It means to me that the Army or police can be invited

20 into the area and then certain events can take place

21 from that point of a troublesome nature.

22 Q. So there might, for example, be a phone call about

23 someone in distress or being in distress to the police,

24 which would be false in an attempt to lure security

25 forces into a particular situation, a particular area,

 

 

8

 

1 in order to attack them?

2 A. Yes, quite like the bomb scares in my school of which

3 I have experience, as stated further in my statement.

4 Q. Yes. Now, moving on again to the particular incident of

5 the vehicle checkpoint, that weekend, I think, is

6 a weekend that sticks in your memory because someone was

7 visiting you?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Who was that?

10 A. My brother.

11 Q. What's his name?

12 A. Gerard Anthony McStravick.

13 Q. Where had he come from to visit you?

14 A. He had come from London.

15 Q. Is there anything else that makes that weekend and the

16 Sunday a particularly memorable date in your mind?

17 A. Nothing other than my consideration that this was a very

18 strange and military operation in that particular area.

19 Q. Sunday was Mothers' Day?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. So that's another pointer, as it were, to the date in

22 question --

23 A. Of course.

24 Q. -- isn't it?

25 A. Of course.

 

 

9

 

1 Q. Yes. Now, I'm not going to go into them in detail, but

2 I think it is right to say that on the Friday, the 12th,

3 you were stopped at a vehicle checkpoint at the junction

4 with Castor Bay Road and the Tannaghmore North Road by

5 the Mile House?

6 A. Correct.

7 Q. And on Sunday, you went out for a meal later in the day?

8 A. Correct.

9 Q. What had you been doing in the morning, please?

10 A. I had, on the Sunday, as was my wont, gone to church and

11 collected my newspapers, for example, but going in the

12 other direction for that. And at that time, of course,

13 I would have noticed to my right, as I turned left, the

14 military police presence.

15 Q. Do you recall any particular reason for going to

16 a church service on the Sunday morning?

17 A. I'm a Roman Catholic.

18 Q. Yes, but any particular type of service?

19 A. Mass.

20 Q. There was a funeral, wasn't there?

21 A. I don't remember that. Too long ago, sir.

22 Q. If I can help you, at RNI-833-144 (displayed), we can

23 see a statement from yourself dated 14 March 1999. That

24 date is wrong. Take it from me, I have checked it. You

25 were interviewed on 14 April 1999. Can we go to the

 

 

10

 

1 next page, RNI-833-145 (displayed)? If we can just

2 highlight perhaps the top quarter of that page, about

3 six lines down you can see:

4 "On Sunday 14 March 1999, the three of us went out

5 to my daughter's house at Derrymacash for lunch. It was

6 a late lunch as I had been at a funeral earlier. We

7 were to be there for 4 pm."

8 Does that jog your memory?

9 A. Yes, but I have no recollection whatsoever because of

10 the timeline. This has been my problem.

11 Q. Certainly.

12 A. There is a timeline between the evidence given to the

13 Colin Port and this.

14 Q. Yes. Well, I hope that what I'm doing is helpful to

15 you, to say that in April 1999, when matters were much

16 fresher in your memory, you told the police inquiry what

17 you had been up to and what had been going on?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Thank you. So you went out to your daughter's for

20 lunch.

21 Now, what I would like to do, please, is to call up

22 on to the screen I think what's known as the TrialPro

23 map of Lurgan. I will just let you take a moment to

24 familiarise yourself with it.

25 At the centre of it, leading vertically down the

 

 

11

 

1 screen, you can see the Castor Bay Road. Do you see

2 that?

3 A. Yes, sir.

4 Q. Just let me know when you have, as it were, familiarised

5 yourself with it?

6 A. I am familiar with it.

7 Q. Thank you. Now, it is very easy to get into

8 difficulties when we are using a map, so please follow

9 what I ask you to do carefully.

10 Is it right to say that to go to your daughter's,

11 you would head north or head up through the top of the

12 map?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Castor Bay Road?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Thank you. Now, at what sort of time were you coming

17 back from -- I don't know what you would call it, an

18 early supper or a late lunch?

19 A. Lunch/dinner was in the later part of the evening.

20 Therefore, we were coming back, if my memory serves me

21 right, some time between, say, half seven and eight

22 o'clock in the evening.

23 Q. And "we" means who?

24 A. Pardon?

25 Q. Who was in the car with you?

 

 

12

 

1 A. My wife and my brother.

2 Q. And what's her name?

3 A. My wife is Elizabeth Mary McStravick.

4 Q. Thank you. Do you remember who was driving?

5 A. I was driving.

6 Q. And you were coming, if we can follow the map, back down

7 the Castor Bay Road, down the page?

8 A. Correct.

9 Q. And you can tell me when to stop, but you came upon

10 a vehicle checkpoint. You pass Fox's Hill, yes? Pass

11 Fox's Glen and the pen has stopped on the "e" of

12 Lake Street.

13 Now, before we mark that, can you just be sure, is

14 that where you are saying that you saw the vehicle

15 checkpoint?

16 A. Yes, it was about the middle of the hill, leading up to

17 Tannaghmore School, and that's where I was stopped by an

18 officer -- by a soldier.

19 Q. Before we mark it, can I just, I hope, try and assist

20 you by telling you what you said to the police team when

21 you gave your statement as to the location:

22 "As we drove back along the Castor Bay Road

23 travelling towards North Circular, we came upon

24 a military police checkpoint at a spot known locally as

25 below Byrnes Hill. This is just a hundred yards or so

 

 

13

 

1 on the country side of Ashford Grange."

2 Yes?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And in your statement to this Inquiry, you say:

5 "We were stopped at a checkpoint almost opposite the

6 entrance to the Tannaghmore Primary School. I think the

7 checkpoint was between the school and the turning for

8 Ashgrove Grange."

9 The reason I'm doing this is to give you a chance

10 to consider all the descriptions of where it was and to

11 be as accurate as you can.

12 A. Yes, I am a bit confused with this map. I have gone too

13 far with -- I want the pointer moved back. Right back.

14 More -- about that, yes. It was near the entrance to

15 private houses opposite the back entrance to Tannaghmore

16 School.

17 Q. Perhaps one thing we could do is mark where the

18 school is?

19 A. Good idea.

20 Q. So direct the pen, please?

21 A. The school is about here (indicates), about there, as

22 far as I am concerned with this map, which really isn't

23 enough detail for me.

24 Q. Just pausing there, I'm not sure if we can delete the --

25 A. Scribble.

 

 

14

 

1 Q. Thank you very much. That saves me from saying it.

2 There. It is an opportunity for me to criticise

3 a former school teacher for their handwriting,

4 I suppose?

5 A. Touché.

6 Q. Now, is that where the school is, as best as you can

7 say? I'm sorry it's not --

8 A. I know where the school is without this map. The school

9 is sitting on the top of Lake Street. I was educated in

10 it. And down below the school, Tannaghmore North, going

11 towards Castor Bay Road, near the entrance where the

12 late Rosemary Nelson lived --

13 Q. Yes, which we can see.

14 A. -- there was a checkpoint.

15 Q. So is the pen about right by the "d" of road?

16 A. I think so.

17 Q. Shall we mark that there? Thank you.

18 A. If that is near the entrance to the road where

19 Rosemary Nelson formerly resided. I want that point

20 made clear.

21 Q. We can see Ashgrove Drive?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Are you happy with that?

24 A. I'm happy so long as it is recorded that my memory of

25 the checkpoint is nearly opposite the entrance to where

 

 

15

 

1 Rosemary Nelson formerly resided.

2 Q. So you came upon this checkpoint?

3 A. Yes, sir.

4 Q. Now, taking it in stages, please, you were driving. Can

5 you remember who was in the back of the car?

6 A. I think my brother was in the back of the car.

7 Q. And at that time, if I can ask you this, were you all in

8 a very jolly, active awake mood coming back or were

9 people nodding off? How long was the journey?

10 A. The journey from Coleman Park, Derrymacash, to 14 North

11 Circular Road would take no more than 15 minutes.

12 Q. So a very short journey?

13 A. Correct.

14 Q. To the best of your recollection, were people alert in

15 the car?

16 A. Of course.

17 Q. Just talk us through, please, what happened at the

18 vehicle checkpoint? You approached it?

19 A. I approached the vehicle checkpoint, where there was an

20 Army patrol beckoning down cars, including my own

21 vehicle. That was it.

22 Q. And if we can just deal with a few aspects of that,

23 please. How many other cars did you see at the

24 checkpoint?

25 A. I was so busy making sure that I stopped. Having

 

 

16

 

1 proceeded through various checkpoints over the period of

2 the Troubles, including this, that I was not terribly

3 interested other than if there was a car in front of me.

4 Q. So you can't remember?

5 A. No.

6 Q. Was there a car in front of you, do you think?

7 A. I think so. There may have been at least one car in

8 front of me.

9 Q. When you say a military checkpoint, Army, are you saying

10 there were no police officers present?

11 A. I don't think there were any police officers other --

12 sorry, there was no other security forces than the

13 British Army checkpoint.

14 Q. And can you recall how you passed through? Were you

15 actually stopped and spoken to?

16 A. I was stopped by the person who was carrying out the

17 checking.

18 Q. Can you describe who that person --

19 A. That person was tall.

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. That person wore a military beret of a navy colour.

22 That person seemed to be a person of authority --

23 perhaps, as I said, a corporal sergeant -- and was

24 polite and waved me on after a cursory examination of

25 me.

 

 

17

 

1 Q. Of you. Now, if we can call up now, please, RNI-813-625

2 (displayed). Of course, having promised not to test

3 your memory, I just have.

4 A. I was aware of that.

5 Q. I thought you would be. Paragraph 14, please,

6 highlighted? Can we look at the third line? I will

7 just read that out. This is your statement to this

8 Inquiry:

9 "On the way back home at around 8 pm, we were

10 stopped at a checkpoint almost opposite the entrance to

11 the Tannaghmore Primary School. I think the checkpoint

12 was between the school and the turning for Ashgrove

13 Grange. There were Land Rovers and a military presence

14 here. I believe the officers to be British military as

15 they were wearing navy caps. As I've said, there was

16 a large man who I took to be a corporal standing in the

17 middle of the road and stopping vehicles. I do not

18 recall what his accent was, but it was not from

19 Northern Ireland. I would hazard a guess that he had

20 served abroad at some point as he had quite tanned skin.

21 I think he may also have been holding a light."

22 Do you stand by that evidence?

23 A. Yes, sir.

24 Q. Yes. Now, just asking you this question, they were

25 wearing navy caps. Do you mean a peaked cap?

 

 

18

 

1 A. I mean a beret.

2 Q. A beret?

3 A. A la France.

4 Q. Vive la France. A navy beret.

5 If we could call up now, please, RNI-844-145

6 (displayed), please? Could we highlight I think really

7 the middle to bottom of that page. We can see "8 pm"

8 about seven lines down:

9 "As we drove back along the Castor Bay Road

10 travelling towards North Circular, we came upon a joint

11 military/police checkpoint at a spot known locally as

12 below Byrnes Hill. This is just --

13 A. Could I make an interruption, please?

14 Q. Yes.

15 A. That should be "below".

16 Q. Oh. Known locally as, small b, "below"?

17 A. Below Byrnes Hill.

18 Q. Thank you:

19 "We were not stopped. We were waved through by the

20 men with the red light. We didn't really pass any

21 remarks on the fact, other than thinking to ourselves it

22 was strange to pass through a course of checkpoints

23 after a lull in them in the area."

24 Now, I just want to conclude my questions about this

25 checkpoint, if I may, Mr McStravick, by asking you this:

 

 

19

 

1 to all intents and purposes, this appeared to you to be

2 to be a normal checkpoint, did it?

3 A. All checkpoints were normal in the sense of being simply

4 qua normal. But that does not preclude that the

5 situation as exceptional.

6 Q. I understand that.

7 A. That's my answer to that, sir.

8 Q. Let me rephrase it. Compared to the way in which other

9 checkpoints operated, was this a normally functioning

10 checkpoint?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. There wasn't any hint that the people manning it were

13 acting furtively, were wanting to rush you through, to

14 get rid of you, to conceal what they were doing, for

15 example?

16 A. No.

17 Q. No. Now, a question that is asked of all witnesses,

18 Mr McStravick, who come to give evidence kindly to the

19 Inquiry, is this: is there anything, before you are

20 released, that you would like to tell the Inquiry that I

21 haven't asked you about, or anything in addition to

22 that?

23 A. There is one point -- you haven't asked me about it --

24 but that I would wish to stress as someone who was born

25 and raised in the community, who was in receipt of all

 

 

20

 

1 the stress and trauma of a period of troubles: That our

2 considered opinion during that weekend and, sadly,

3 afterwards was that we were all totally confused about

4 the purpose of that clampdown. And since that,

5 I personally, and many others, have been very worried

6 about how a wonderful person, a person I have described,

7 a paragon of legal and wifely virtue, was foully

8 murdered despite the presence of a serious clampdown of

9 the security services. That is it.

10 Q. Thank you. One final we question I have been asked to

11 put to you: were you surprised in any way -- was it

12 unusual that the checkpoint seemed to be run by British

13 military?

14 A. It did occur to me that -- having been aware of

15 statements made by the Security Services that, for

16 example, the RUC should accompany all patrols, and

17 I thought afterwards of the lack of RUC presence at

18 those checkpoints.

19 MR SAVILL: Thank you very much.

20 Sir, I don't know whether you or your colleagues

21 have any questions to Mr McStravick?

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much indeed, Mr McStravick,

23 for coming to give evidence. Thank you. If you would

24 like to sit in the back and I think your wife is the

25 next witness.

 

 

21

 

1 MR SAVILL: I hope, sir, we have made sufficient

2 arrangements to call Mrs McStravick seamlessly, rather

3 than rising.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. Would you like to sit in the back while

5 your wife is giving evidence.

6 A. May I thank you and thank Mr Savill for his

7 consideration of an elderly gentleman.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Good. Thank you.

9 MRS ELIZABETH MCSTRAVICK (sworn)

10 Questions by MR SAVILL

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Savill?

12 MR SAVILL: Could you give us your name, please?

13 A. Elizabeth Mary McStravick.

14 Q. Thank you. Now, Mrs McStravick, we have all seen

15 a statement that you have very kindly given to the

16 Inquiry. I just wonder if we could call up RNI-813-613,

17 please (displayed)? That is your witness statement --

18 Elizabeth McStravick, 5 November 2007 -- and we can see

19 there your signature, I hope, and the date of

20 5 November?

21 A. That's right.

22 Q. Thank you very much. Now, I would like to begin,

23 please, by asking you to cast your mind back

24 to March 1999, and tell us, please, at that stage of

25 your life what your knowledge and experience was of

 

 

22

 

1 Rosemary Nelson?

2 A. I'm from Portadown originally, but I married a Lurgan

3 man and came to live in Lurgan, and the Magees lived

4 just around the corner on the Shore Road, from my

5 family. They were slightly older than my family, you

6 know -- the start of their family was older than the

7 start of my family, if you know what I mean -- so they

8 didn't play together. But a niece of mine was in the

9 same class as Rosemary, in St Michael's, the secondary

10 school. I would have known them to see and I knew the

11 father and mother to speak to.

12 Q. Just pause there. You'll hate me for saying this, but

13 could you just go a little bit slower?

14 A. I am sorry.

15 Q. What you are telling us is interesting evidence and

16 I want to make sure everyone understands and hears what

17 you say.

18 A. Sorry.

19 Q. Please go on.

20 A. Your question, how did I know them?

21 Q. Yes.

22 A. At a later stage, as I say, one of my nieces was in the

23 same class as Rosemary Magee; Rosie Magee as she was

24 known locally. I would have known her that way.

25 Also, later on I taught in different schools. I had

 

 

23

 

1 given up teaching permanently when my family came along,

2 for about ten years, and during the time when I would

3 have subbed a bit in the local schools, I met two of the

4 family, Bernie and Marie, who were both teachers and so

5 I would have known them.

6 Q. Thank you. So in summary, you knew her from childhood?

7 A. I did, but I never spoke to her.

8 Q. I was going to ask you that. You knew of her?

9 A. I knew of her.

10 Q. And as regards the level of your relationship with her

11 family, would you describe it as one of acquaintance or

12 friendship?

13 A. Acquaintance, friendly acquaintance.

14 Q. Yes.

15 A. We would have spoke passing, you know, and been

16 neighbourly.

17 Q. When you knew her as a child, I think we can see in your

18 statement there at paragraph 3 that she had a facial

19 disfigurement?

20 A. That's right, yes.

21 Q. Could you tell us about that, please?

22 A. She had what I would call a strawberry mark on her face

23 and it was quite large, and it was a terrible

24 disfigurement for a young girl to have.

25 Q. She was born with it, was she?

 

 

24

 

1 A. She was born with it, I think, yes.

2 Q. Yes.

3 A. So she had that right through her childhood, and then at

4 a later stage, possibly in -- I'm not too sure -- her

5 teens maybe, I knew that she had gone for treatment to

6 have it removed.

7 Q. Was that a success?

8 A. In the medium term, it wasn't a success and it left her

9 worse, I thought, you know. But in the long term, the

10 strawberry mark went, but she was left with very bad

11 scarring on one side of her face.

12 Q. Thank you. You see, it has been suggested on a number

13 of occasions that this disfigurement may have been due

14 to other activities that Rosemary Nelson may have been

15 engaged in. What would you say to that suggestion?

16 A. Absolutely not. Absolutely not, no.

17 Q. No.

18 A. I mean, I would have seen her frequently at church right

19 from her childhood, and everyone sort of in the

20 community knew that she was going for the treatment and

21 everyone hoped for her that it would be successful. And

22 it was a very long and must have been a very hard and

23 painful treatment. It lasted a number of years,

24 actually, the treatment, and it didn't have good

25 results.

 

 

25

 

1 Q. I hope I'm right in characterising the position that you

2 watched her grow up from afar?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. You don't think you ever spoke to her --

5 A. Well, from round the corner.

6 Q. Yes, from a distance?

7 A. Yes, she lived on the Shore Road and I lived on North

8 Circular Road.

9 Q. You knew, obviously, that she was a solicitor?

10 A. Oh, yes.

11 Q. Did you have any professional dealings with her

12 yourself?

13 A. None, no.

14 Q. Are you able to help us with the opinion of others as

15 a solicitor?

16 A. She was very well regarded in the neighbourhood and

17 people were proud of how well she had done in her

18 career, and I think my feeling about her was that she

19 looked to people who were -- had a harder life in

20 different ways, the underdog, maybe, perhaps, sometimes.

21 Q. Yes.

22 A. And that she would have been very open to helping them

23 in any way professionally that she could.

24 Q. What would you say if I were to suggest to you that more

25 latterly, in the later stages of her career, she

 

 

26

 

1 favoured one group of people over another or individuals

2 over another? Does that square with your impression

3 of her?

4 A. Not from what I heard, no, except that there would have

5 been a feeling that she did professionally really favour

6 people who were underprivileged and who were in

7 difficulty situations, whether it be educationally or

8 for whatever reason.

9 Q. I don't want to put words into your mouth, but was she

10 perhaps someone who was perceived as the champion of the

11 downtrodden, someone who would take up a cause that

12 others thought might be lost, for example? Is that --

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. -- what you are trying to tell us?

15 A. Yes, I think so, yes.

16 Q. Now, I would like to just ask you about the weekend

17 prior to her murder, please.

18 You have given two statements: one to this Inquiry

19 and one to the police investigation team. Could you

20 please tell us, by focusing on the Sunday evening -- we

21 will come to the checkpoint in particular in a moment --

22 what your recollection is of the level of activity of

23 security forces at that time?

24 A. Just on the Sunday evening?

25 Q. Yes.

 

 

27

 

1 A. On the -- Sunday was Mothers' Day.

2 Q. Yes.

3 A. And my husband and myself and my brother-in-law Gerard

4 were going to my daughter's for our Mothers' Day

5 luncheon. There was a funeral, and it was a bit later

6 than it normally would have been, but when we set out

7 for her house -- you want to know about the evening?

8 Right. So when we were returning from her house, I

9 would say it was between maybe seven or eight o'clock in

10 the evening. I can't be exactly sure.

11 Q. Pausing there, if you are going to just helpfully tell

12 me about the checkpoint, we will come to that in

13 a moment. I'm asking you more generally about seeing

14 soldiers, helicopters, on the Sunday evening. Can you

15 recollect that?

16 A. Yes, when we came to the checkpoint, at that stage.

17 That's when I recollect seeing them.

18 Q. That's the only recollection you have on the Sunday

19 evening of security force activity?

20 A. In the evening -- well, except that that whole weekend

21 the place was absolutely swamped with soldiers.

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. Which was unusual because there had been a stage, of

24 course, earlier whenever the soldiers had been very much

25 part of everybody's life, walking in and out of the

 

 

28

 

1 house, you know, and checkpoints. But for several

2 months, I would have said, there was very, very little

3 activity and we saw very, very few soldiers, very, very

4 few helicopters. But on that particular weekend, there

5 just -- everyone was so surprised because they couldn't

6 understand why there was such activity. There didn't

7 seem to be any trouble in the area, there hadn't been

8 any trouble in the area, and it just came as a big

9 surprise to everyone when the Army suddenly appeared,

10 especially on the Mothers' Day because that is a day

11 when you know yourself people are travelling to sons'

12 and daughters' houses and there is a lot of traffic on

13 the road, I would think. And it seemed surprising that

14 that of all days, there was such a very serious Army

15 presence in the area.

16 Q. I just want to be clear about this, you are using the

17 word "Army" I presume deliberately meaning Army, as

18 opposed to RUC?

19 A. Army is my recollection.

20 Q. Yes. I'm terribly sorry, but I did interrupt you. You

21 were coming back from your daughter's after being the

22 honorand, I presume, at the lunch or early supper that

23 you had had there?

24 A. That's right, yes.

25 Q. Can you remember who was driving you back?

 

 

29

 

1 A. My husband Brendan was driving me back because, being

2 Mothers' Day, I had had a few glasses of wine. I don't

3 remember who drove there. I possibly did, I can't

4 remember. When we got to the Corner House, we saw that

5 there were cars pulled up in front of us. When we were

6 moved along a little bit from the Corner House -- the

7 Mile House, sorry, which is the junction of Tannaghmore

8 Road North and Castor Bay Road, heading back towards in

9 to Lurgan, in to our house.

10 Q. I'm going to ask for a map to be put on the screen just

11 to help you at this stage. I will give you just

12 a moment to familiarise yourself with it. It shouldn't

13 take you long, I hope.

14 Vertically, in the middle of the screen you can see

15 Castor Bay Road, yes?

16 A. No. Oh, yes, yes.

17 Q. If you follow down that road, you can see Lake Street

18 and then North Circular Road?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. So I hope that's now clear in your mind?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. So you were being driven down the screen, as it were,

23 where the pencil is?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Now, what will happen, I hope, is that the pencil will

 

 

30

 

1 move until you say stop, and I would like you to say

2 stop where you say the vehicle checkpoint was? (Pause)

3 A. Stop. I notice that Ashgrove Grange -- isn't that the

4 address of Rosemary Nelson's house? It is not on the

5 map.

6 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Am I right in thinking, Mr Savill,

7 that Ashgrove Grange is a little bit above where the

8 pencil is now?

9 MR SAVILL: It is the final -- yes, there. That's --

10 A. Oh, yes. Right, I see it now. Back a little bit from

11 that.

12 Q. Ashford.

13 A. Ashford, sorry. Back just a tiny bit. About there.

14 Q. Okay. I will just remind you what you said in your two

15 statements to make sure that you are happy with this

16 position.

17 A. Right.

18 Q. In your statement to the Inquiry, you said that:

19 "Driving into Lurgan on Castor Bay Road, we got

20 quite close to Rosemary Nelson's house and Tannaghmore

21 Primary School before we were stopped by the checkpoint.

22 It was certainly before the turning for Ashgrove

23 Grange."

24 In your statement to the police team, you said:

25 "This checkpoint was about 30 yards from

 

 

31

 

1 Rosemary Nelson's house."

2 A. This is a very small scale map, you see. If you walked

3 from that point and into Ashford Grange and across the

4 road to where Rosemary Nelson lived, I would say it was

5 about 30 yards.

6 Q. Yes, thank you. That's very helpful.

7 A. It wasn't that we were right on the corner now, we were

8 back a little bit. But if you had got out and walked,

9 it would have been, I think, about that.

10 Q. From the checkpoint to her house?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. That's very helpful. So less than a minute's walk?

13 A. Definitely, yes.

14 Q. Just continuing that forward, we can see how long this

15 room is. If the checkpoint is where the curtains are --

16 I appreciate it may not be a straight line -- how many

17 lengths of room would you say her house is away?

18 A. One length of the room.

19 Q. So very, very close?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Thank you. I did interrupt you yet again. You

22 approached the checkpoint. What did you see? What

23 happened?

24 A. Well, there were soldiers and we were stopped, which was

25 a very normal thing up until, you know, some months

 

 

32

 

1 before, although I had never been stopped in that

2 particular place before now. It was the first time I

3 was ever stopped in that place, and we were,

4 I suppose -- I mean, I wasn't driving, my husband was

5 driving, and I suppose that the soldiers spoke to him.

6 And we had to wait until -- there were a few cars in

7 front of us and we had to wait until our turn. And

8 after a few questions or -- I suppose where were we

9 coming from, I don't actually remember. Just the sort

10 of thing that would happen at a checkpoint. Then we

11 were allowed to go on.

12 But I do remember commenting particularly to my

13 brother-in-law, Gerard, both my husband and myself said

14 that it was very unusual to see so many soldiers about

15 because for quite a long time, the area had been almost

16 totally free of military.

17 Q. And was there any comment within the car about the

18 checkpoint that you had just been through, that --

19 A. The particular checkpoint?

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. Not that I remember now. Just the fact that there was

22 a checkpoint and that we hadn't seen soldiers doing

23 checkpoints for quite a long time in the area, and if --

24 the day before we had also been stopped at one.

25 Q. Sorry, perhaps I had misunderstood. I thought you just

 

 

33

 

1 said that you were a little surprised to see that

2 checkpoint in that position?

3 A. Both. We were both surprised that there was

4 a checkpoint and also surprised that it was in that

5 position.

6 Q. As far as the checkpoint itself was concerned, compared

7 to other checkpoints that you must have been through,

8 was it operating in a comparatively normal way?

9 A. I think so. You know, I didn't notice anything about

10 the checkpoint.

11 Q. They didn't seem to be in a rush to get people through

12 or acting suspiciously in any way?

13 A. No, no.

14 Q. And as far as you can remember, was the checkpoint being

15 run by the RUC or the Army?

16 A. The Army.

17 Q. Are you able to tell us which branch of that?

18 A. No.

19 Q. No?

20 A. No.

21 Q. Now, you have given us a number of reasons as to why it

22 was the Sunday, Mothers' Day, there was a funeral. Yes?

23 A. That's right, in the morning there was Alf Murray's

24 funeral. He was very well-known. He was a teacher in

25 Tannaghmore School for many years, the principal of the

 

 

34

 

1 school. So it was a very, very large funeral and we all

2 attended that, the three of us, before we went.

3 Q. How certain are you that it was the Sunday?

4 A. That the funeral was the Sunday?

5 Q. No, I'm sorry, that the vehicle checkpoint that we have

6 just discussed was the Sunday?

7 A. I'm fairly certain of that.

8 Q. I appreciate it was a long time ago, but as we have seen

9 from your statements, you do mention the factors that

10 assist you in recalling it was the Sunday.

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. So what do you say today?

13 A. Yes, that it was the day of Alf Murray's funeral and

14 also that it was Mothers' Day.

15 Q. Thank you. One other question that's asked of witnesses

16 at this stage, Mrs McStravick, is is there anything

17 that you would like to add to that which you have

18 already told us, or anything at all that you would like

19 to tell the Inquiry before you are released from giving

20 evidence?

21 A. I don't think so. Well, I would like to add that in my

22 second witness statement, I made a change in what I said

23 because in the first statement I had said that on the

24 Friday, we were stopped going towards the shopping

25 centre and then that there was no military presence when

 

 

35

 

1 we were returning. But in the following statement,

2 I said that we were stopped on -- I can't just think

3 what it was, but I know I did make a change and I just

4 wanted to explain why.

5 When I made the first statement to the police and

6 the -- I would think that that was the more significant

7 statement, in the sense that when I came to give the

8 second -- the one in November 2007, the first thing they

9 did when they come in is give -- they gave me the first

10 statement and asked me to read it through.

11 Now, for some reason that I can't explain myself,

12 all my life it has made me nervous to be handed

13 a document by someone who asks me to read it in their

14 presence and then either to answer questions about it or

15 to comment on it.

16 I think the reason that I made the mistake in the

17 second one and put the -- said that I was stopped

18 coming -- I remember now I said in the second statement

19 that I was stopped coming back from the shopping centre.

20 Q. If I can help you, you did.

21 A. Yes. Now, I'm trying to explain the reason why I think

22 that I made that mistake. I think it was just pure

23 nervousness. I tend, when I lift a statement like that

24 to read it and someone is waiting for me to finish in

25 order to resume a conversation or something, it tends to

 

 

36

 

1 make me very nervous and I think that I just got

2 confused because of nervousness and that was why. But I

3 would like to add that the first statement I made was

4 a statement I would fully stand by now.

5 Q. The first statement?

6 A. The very first one. It doesn't give as much detail, but

7 the actual road blocks that we were stopped at, I think

8 is -- I know, is the one that I would stand over now.

9 Q. If I may say so, the point you are making now is that

10 the first statement was made when things were fresher in

11 your mind?

12 A. Of course. It was eight years and two months or

13 something between the statements.

14 MR SAVILL: I feel sure that --

15 THE CHAIRMAN: What is the date of the first statement?

16 MR SAVILL: The first statement was 30 July 1999.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

18 MR SAVILL: One final question that I should ask you is

19 this. Can you remember were you in the front or the

20 back of the car?

21 A. On both occasions I would have been in the front because

22 whether I was driving -- even if Brendan had been

23 driving, I would have been in the passenger seat beside

24 him. So I was in the front on both occasions.

25 MR SAVILL: Thank you.

 

 

37

 

1 Sir, I don't know if you or your colleagues have any

2 questions?

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Mrs McStravick, thank you very much for

4 coming to give evidence.

5 We are going to have a quarter of an hour break now.

6 Thank you very much for coming. Half past.

7 (11.14 am)

8 (Short break)

9 (11.35 am)

10 MR GERARD MCSTRAVICK (sworn)

11 Questions by MR SAVILL

12 MR SAVILL: Can you tell us your name, please?

13 A. My name is Gerard Anthony McStravick.

14 Q. Can we call up on to the screen your witness statement?

15 We can see that, the first page of it, and we can see on

16 the last page, I hope, the signature and the date of

17 26 November 2007?

18 A. That's correct.

19 Q. We are going to talk a little bit, if we may, about the

20 events of the weekend in March 1999 that you are

21 familiar with. Before we do, I think it is right to say

22 that you are probably far more experienced than most of

23 us in the room of the process of recollection in giving

24 evidence. Is that right?

25 A. Probably, yes, but even so, it is a period of nine years

 

 

38

 

1 and some things you can remember and other things not

2 quite so well.

3 Q. But you were a police officer for some 30 years,

4 I believe?

5 A. I was 33 years serving in Hong Kong.

6 Q. Yes. Just to summarise, you retired, I think I'm right

7 in saying, back to London in 1996?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. And visited roughly on an annual basis friends and

10 relatives in Northern Ireland until you moved back over

11 here. Is that right?

12 A. That is correct, yes. I would normally visit them once

13 a year.

14 Q. Yes. Now, just to clear this point up, did you yourself

15 have any knowledge of Rosemary Nelson?

16 A. No, I didn't know her at all.

17 Q. Thank you. Now, dealing with the weekend in question,

18 how able were you, or are you, to compare the events and

19 activities of that weekend to other weekends, bearing in

20 mind obviously that you had been living abroad for some

21 time?

22 A. The -- I arrived on the Thursday from London and met by

23 my eldest brother Brendan, went back to his house in the

24 North Circular Road and stayed there until the

25 unfortunate events which happened on the Monday.

 

 

39

 

1 Q. Yes.

2 A. This was after the Good Friday Agreement had been

3 signed, but I still was surprised at the level of

4 security around the area of Brendan's, particularly when

5 we were moving about, like going out shopping or

6 visiting other friends.

7 Q. But you were unable, or are unable, to say

8 comparatively, compared to last week, for example, or

9 last month, this is a lot or this is a little because

10 you weren't living there full-time. Is that fair or

11 not?

12 A. I had been there before, a year before, approximately,

13 but I certainly hadn't noticed the level of security

14 I noticed that particular weekend.

15 Q. What I'm trying to draw out from you, if you understand

16 me, is what was the comparator you were using to form

17 the view that what was going on was either more or less

18 than you were used to?

19 A. Well, for me the first thing I noticed -- the first

20 three or four days when I was there, for example, was

21 the constant droning of helicopter or helicopters, day

22 and night.

23 Q. Yes.

24 A. I found this very unusual because I thought, you know --

25 things, I thought, were improving and this surprised me,

 

 

40

 

1 that there was this constant presence of helicopters

2 very close to where we were -- where I was living.

3 Q. Would it be fair of me to say this: your expectations of

4 the level of activity were different to the reality that

5 you experienced?

6 A. Correct.

7 Q. Thank you. And if we look at paragraph 6 on

8 page RNI-813-629 of your statement, we can see in the

9 last three lines that you say:

10 "That weekend, however, I heard a lot of helicopter

11 noise overhead. The noise was constant. I didn't see

12 any of the helicopters, I just heard the sound of them."

13 Do you see that?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. If we look at paragraph 10 of your statement, please,

16 which is on RNI-813-630 (displayed), and the third from

17 bottom line:

18 "I'm sure it was in the area from Friday onwards and

19 definitely on Saturday and Sunday. I can't say whether

20 it was the same helicopter. Another helicopter may have

21 taken over."

22 A. That's correct.

23 Q. You were out and about, I think, with your family on the

24 Friday and the Saturday?

25 A. And also Sunday.

 

 

41

 

1 Q. I'm going to come to that. And on the Friday and the

2 Saturday, you encountered a number of vehicle

3 checkpoints?

4 A. Well, we encountered a few.

5 Q. A few vehicle checkpoints?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. I'm not going to take you through each of them. But on

8 the Friday and the Saturday you encountered them, and as

9 you have helpfully pointed out to me, Sunday you were

10 out and about as well?

11 A. That's correct, yes.

12 Q. And now, can you tell us, please, why it was that the

13 Sunday sticks in your mind as a significant or memorable

14 day?

15 A. Well, Sunday there was also the issue of a very big

16 funeral for a very well-known personality,

17 Mr Alf Murray, who was the ex-principal of Tannaghmore

18 School, which was very close to the residence of the

19 deceased, Rosemary Nelson.

20 Alf Murray was a very known and highly respected

21 person in the community and he was my teacher when I was

22 at Tannaghmore School, and I knew he was held in very

23 high regard by so many people I expected that it would

24 be a rather larger than usual funeral. And I thought at

25 the time perhaps, because of the extra police who

 

 

42

 

1 I noticed about the place and sometimes military

2 police -- military personnel around the area, I thought

3 in some way it may have been connected with the security

4 arrangements for such a very, very large funeral.

5 That's what I thought.

6 Q. Thank you. And did you yourself or members of your

7 family that you were staying with go to the funeral?

8 A. Yes, I personally went to the funeral mass in St Peter's

9 Church in North street, but I didn't follow the

10 deceased's remains to the cemetery. I went straight

11 back to Brendan's house.

12 Q. I think I'm right in saying that this was in the

13 morning?

14 A. This would have been around about 1 o'clock on the

15 Sunday.

16 Q. And later that afternoon, the three of you -- you, your

17 brother and your sister-in-law -- took a journey out to

18 pay a visit, I think?

19 A. We went to visit Brendan's and Elizabeth's daughter,

20 Gráinne, who is living out in Derrymacash. In fact, I'm

21 living in that area now, so she lives just around the

22 corner from where I'm living. It was on the Sunday

23 afternoon.

24 Q. Yes. What was the purpose of that visit?

25 A. I think it may have been Mothers' Day. I'm not

 

 

43

 

1 100 per cent sure, but we were invited to go there for

2 a meal.

3 Q. And I think you recollect that it was a little later in

4 the afternoon that you went out to visit her. Can you

5 remember what time it was?

6 A. I'm not sure of the exact time, but it probably ...

7 Q. Well, I can tell you in your statement to the Inquiry at

8 paragraph 21, RNI-813-633.

9 A. Some time around 4 o'clock, yes.

10 Q. Yes. And on the way out, you also told the statement

11 taker for the Inquiry that you saw a military checkpoint

12 very close to the junction at the Mile House?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. That's something you are certain of, is it?

15 A. There was definitely a checkpoint in the vicinity of the

16 Mile House.

17 Q. But you are certain that there was one on the way out,

18 as it were?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Now, roughly how long did you stay for dinner; are you

21 able to remember?

22 A. Two or three hours perhaps.

23 Q. And then you made the same route back --

24 A. We came back on to Brendan's house, yes.

25 Q. And on the way back, can you remember who was driving

 

 

44

 

1 and who was sat where in the car?

2 A. I think Elizabeth was probably driving, Brendan in the

3 passenger seat and me sitting at the back.

4 Q. And on the way back -- how long is the journey by the

5 way?

6 A. Probably between 15 and 20 minutes.

7 Q. But on the way back, you also ran into a vehicle

8 checkpoint?

9 A. Yes, there were some military people in Army uniforms on

10 foot.

11 Q. And can you just tell me to the best of your

12 recollection, before we go into a little more detail,

13 where that was?

14 A. On the way back, I think it was -- as you drive along

15 towards Tannaghmore School, having come round -- turned

16 round right from the Mile House, heading back towards

17 Brendan's house, heading towards Rosemary Nelson's

18 house, which is quite close to Tannaghmore School.

19 Q. Thank you. And hopefully we can call up now a map for

20 you (displayed). Again, just take a moment, but I hope

21 fairly easily you can familiarise yourself with that.

22 You can see, vertically, Castor Bay Road?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Yes?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

45

 

1 Q. And I would like you, if you could in a moment, to

2 assist us with where it was on the map. But what I'll

3 do just to try and help you is remind you of what you

4 had said in previous statements. To the police

5 investigation team, you said:

6 "On the way back, a few hours later, we turned off

7 Annesborough Road at the Mile House and travelled

8 towards Brendan's house. A few hundred metres from

9 Tannaghmore School on the opposite side of the road,

10 I noticed at least two persons in military uniform."

11 To the Inquiry, you said this:

12 "We did not stay terribly long. On the way back, I

13 think there were Army people on the road that leads to

14 Loch Neagh. They were close to Tannaghmore School."

15 That's what you said?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. The pen, I hope, is going to move down the screen and I

18 would like you just to stop it when you say it is at the

19 point that you were stopped at the vehicle checkpoint?

20 A. I don't see Tannaghmore School marked on this map.

21 Q. No, you are not the first person to say that. It isn't.

22 A. After Fox's Glen, keep going down a bit, probably around

23 about there.

24 Q. If I can help you, the road that isn't marked above the

25 pen on the left is Ashford Grange, where the pen is.

 

 

46

 

1 A. You see, my recollection was it wasn't too far away from

2 Tannaghmore School, but a bit, you know -- probably

3 round about that location.

4 Q. Okay. We can mark that. In any event, Mr McStravick,

5 using the length of this room, how far -- albeit it may

6 not be in a direct line -- was it from the checkpoint to

7 Mrs Nelson's house? Are you able to help us with that?

8 A. Just -- I would say round about, between 100 and

9 200 metres. You see, it was only later on that

10 I realised -- I didn't even know where Rosemary Nelson

11 lived.

12 Q. No, quite.

13 A. I just knew it was -- you know -- my focal point is

14 Tannaghmore School, which is a huge school in that area,

15 and I can remember it wasn't far from there.

16 Q. Just excuse me for a moment. (Pause)

17 I think I'm right in saying -- we have been doing

18 some map searching -- that if you can see Ashgrove

19 Park --

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. -- just below that -- there -- is where the school is?

22 A. No, I don't think so.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Have we not got another, more detailed map

24 somewhere?

25 MR SAVILL: Not to hand.

 

 

47

 

1 THE CHAIRMAN: I thought there was an Ordnance Survey map --

2 A. The school is before you reach North Circular Road.

3 MR SAVILL: Just excuse me, Mr McStravick, there may be

4 other maps. The question is whether they are loaded up

5 on to the system.

6 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: I think they are experts. They can

7 help us.

8 A. A lot of these places, I don't think they were there at

9 the time of this incident. Fox's Glen and Fox's Hill, I

10 think they were built later.

11 MR SAVILL: I'm delighted to tell you that I'm wrong and you

12 are right. So bearing in mind what you have said about

13 where the school is, are you still content with the mark

14 for the vehicle checkpoint?

15 A. Well --

16 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: I'm content, Mr Savill, that the

17 witness has described where the checkpoint is. I think

18 that's adequate, isn't it?

19 MR SAVILL: Yes. Just excuse me, Mr McStravick. (Pause)

20 Yes, I'm just looking at another map and that

21 confirms that the school is in the V of Lake Street and

22 North Circular Road. Do you understand what I mean

23 by that?

24 A. Yes, but it is before you reach North Circular Road.

25 Q. Yes.

 

 

48

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. So there we are. That's where you mark the checkpoint.

3 Now, casting your mind back, please, are you able to

4 give us a good recollection of what actually occurred at

5 the vehicle checkpoint?

6 A. You are talking about the Sunday evening on the way back

7 to --

8 Q. Yes, I am.

9 A. I think, again, it was very brief. Just coming

10 towards -- and they had a look, two or three, see who is

11 inside the car, and they just wave you on. As far as

12 I remember, there was no conversation. They just waved

13 you on -- waved us on.

14 Q. Are you able to describe whether there were any other

15 vehicles engaged at the checkpoint?

16 A. I couldn't see any vehicles. All I saw from my

17 memory -- there may have been a vehicle, but all I saw

18 were two or three people in military uniform.

19 Q. And to be as precise as we can about that, you are

20 saying this was a military checkpoint, as opposed to

21 police?

22 A. Definitely not police. They were definitely wearing

23 Army uniforms.

24 Q. Are you able to be more specific as to which branch of

25 the Army, or not?

 

 

49

 

1 A. No, I couldn't, no.

2 Q. Was there any comment passed amongst you as to the

3 checkpoint, whether it was unusual, what happened?

4 A. Not really because on that Sunday on the way out, we

5 were checked very briefly. So I just thought it is --

6 you know, Northern Ireland hasn't really changed a lot.

7 Q. But for your mind, there was nothing particularly

8 unusual about the behaviour at the checkpoint?

9 A. No, because we were just waved through. There was no

10 conversation. They just had a look -- you know, the car

11 slowed down and we were just waved to keep going, like

12 even nowadays when I'm travelling around, there are

13 police checkpoints and they have a look to see you

14 coming towards them and they stop some people, but a lot

15 they just wave on to continue on their journey. That

16 was what this was like. They just had a brief look and

17 waved you on.

18 Q. Do you remember anything in relation to the head dress

19 worn by those at the checkpoint?

20 A. No.

21 Q. As far as you are concerned, they aren't behaving in

22 a suspicious way at all?

23 A. No, no, they just had a brief look at us and waved to us

24 to continue on our journey.

25 Q. Thank you. Mr McStravick, is there anything that you

 

 

50

 

1 would like to add to the evidence that you have given,

2 or anything else that you would like to tell the Inquiry

3 at this stage?

4 A. No, I was just -- I was quite surprised that weekend

5 when I was staying at my brother's house, at the high

6 level of police and military personnel around the place.

7 I was quite surprised -- coupled with the constant noise

8 of the helicopter or helicopters. I just thought it

9 was -- even very late at night when I was going to bed,

10 this constant droning of the helicopters.

11 Q. Which night are you talking about?

12 A. From Friday night onwards, Friday night, Saturday night,

13 Sunday night, all the way through until the Monday. And

14 even on the Saturday, I noticed some police people

15 wandering -- and a police jeep in the vicinity of

16 Tannaghmore School and some Army personnel on the

17 Saturday even. They didn't stop us, but I could see

18 them in the vicinity wandering around. And I thought to

19 myself -- and then I thought somehow it might be

20 connected with the very large funeral on the Sunday.

21 Q. Yes. Thank you.

22 A. My overall impression that weekend was I was very

23 surprised at the very high level of Army and police

24 presence in the area.

25 MR SAVILL: Thank you.

 

 

51

 

1 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr McStravick, thank you very much for coming

2 to give evidence before us today. It is the end of your

3 evidence. Thank you.

4 A. Thank you very much.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: If you would like to leave the witness place.

6 Is the next witness ready?

7 MR SAVILL: I certainly hope so. He should be.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Good. Right.

9 MR MARTIN BYRNE (sworn)

10 Questions by MR SAVILL

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Please sit down.

12 MR SAVILL: Could you give us your name, please?

13 A. My name is Martin Gerard Byrne.

14 Q. Can we call up RNI-802-106, please (displayed)? We can

15 see the first page of your statement to the Inquiry

16 there, and also if we can call up RNI-802-112

17 (displayed), I think that is your signature and the date

18 of 5 February this year?

19 A. That's true.

20 Q. Thank you. Mr Byrne, I'm going to ask you some

21 questions about some police activity over the weekend

22 of March 1999.

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. It is a long time ago. Can you tell us, please, before

25 I do, though, what at that stage was your knowledge, if

 

 

52

 

1 any, of Mrs Rosemary Nelson?

2 A. Well, I would have known that Mrs Nelson was a solicitor

3 in the Lurgan area. I also would have known of the

4 family. My ex-wife would be a friend of the Magee

5 family, so I would know the Magee family on a casual

6 basis. The Magee family would have been involved in

7 Gaelic football and GAA activity in the area, and

8 I played for the team in the area. So I would be on

9 speaking terms, but that's as far as I go with knowing

10 them. I never had any dealings with Rosemary Nelson in

11 a legal capacity, anything like that.

12 Q. I was going to split the two down.

13 A. Okay.

14 Q. Would you have described yourself as a friends of her?

15 A. No, I would have bid the time of day to her, but I

16 wouldn't be on speaking terms and conversation terms,

17 no.

18 Q. Are you able to give an opinion of her as a person?

19 A. No --

20 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Byrne, the stenographer has to take down

21 everything you say. Could you speak a little more

22 slowly? I know it can be difficult.

23 A. Okay.

24 MR SAVILL: And you have already just told us, I think, that

25 professionally you had no dealings with her yourself?

 

 

53

 

1 A. No, never.

2 Q. But are you able to tell us whether you heard any

3 opinions offered as to her abilities and practice as

4 a solicitor?

5 A. I have heard a lot of opinions of a lot of people in

6 Lurgan, but I don't think I'm in a position to judge

7 anyone, so I don't take that on board.

8 Q. No.

9 A. No.

10 Q. But at that time, are you able to tell us what the

11 opinion was that people held of her as a solicitor?

12 A. I would say -- as far as I know, she was held in very

13 high esteem. I don't see any reason to say otherwise.

14 I never heard anything bad about the girl. To the best

15 of my knowledge, she was very upstanding member of the

16 community.

17 Q. Thank you. Now, in March 1999, can you tell us, please,

18 what it was that you did as a job?

19 A. Yes. Well, I had been a milkman for a number of years

20 and I had to stop because of illness. So I had

21 a part-time job at that stage delivering some hot food

22 or takeaway food to the area because I was very, very --

23 I know the area very well. I was a milkman for a number

24 of years and the area was very well-known to me.

25 Q. Yes.

 

 

54

 

1 A. And at that weekend I was delivering Chinese takeaways

2 on the Saturday and the Sunday, and there was a high

3 level of police and Army activity in the area for the

4 whole weekend.

5 Q. We will come to that in a moment. Just pause there.

6 Now, I think I'm right in saying that at that time

7 you had a partner, a girlfriend?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Who was that?

10 A. That was Ann McAleenan. She is still my partner today.

11 Q. Yes. I think I'm also right in saying that she did

12 a similar line of work in the evening?

13 A. She did, yes.

14 Q. A takeaway delivery driver?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Did you work for the same people?

17 A. No, we didn't work for the same firm.

18 Q. So you delivered pizza, did you?

19 A. No, Ann delivered pizza. They were in close proximity

20 to each other so we would be in the same location most

21 of the time.

22 Q. When you say "they" --

23 A. The shops were in walking distance --

24 Q. Presumably you cris-crossed each other in the course of

25 the evening?

 

 

55

 

1 A. We did, yes, quite a few times.

2 Q. On the Sunday evening, are you able to tell us, please,

3 what your recollection and impression was of the level

4 of security force activity?

5 A. Yes. First of all, can I just say that I made

6 a statement in February of this year and it was nine

7 years later, so I have to say that perhaps some of the

8 things that I may say, the times might not be exactly

9 right, but to the best of my knowledge the sequence of

10 events that took place, took place.

11 So to the best of my knowledge on the Sunday

12 evening -- it was Mothers' Day, so when I got to work

13 about five o'clock there wouldn't have been the usual

14 Sunday evening deliveries because a lot of people would

15 have been out and had meals on the Sunday afternoon. So

16 it would have been quite slack.

17 Q. Just pause there. Just try and take it in stages.

18 A. Okay.

19 Q. So the Sunday evening. Go on, please?

20 A. I think it was about on my second run at around

21 six o'clock on Sunday evening, I was delivering in the

22 Lurgan/Kilwilke area, which would be fairly close to

23 Mrs Nelson's home. There was a very high level of

24 police activity in the area. There was some youths who

25 were getting up to their usual behaviour. I also

 

 

56

 

1 noticed some smoke, black billowing smoke. The reason

2 I say black billowing smoke, there had been a lot of

3 activity in the area over the years where you would see

4 smoke come rising through and it would be black smoke,

5 you would tend to think it was from car tyres,

6 et cetera. I noticed the smoke in the sky, and during

7 the time I ran into Ann in the same area and we decided

8 we had a delivery to make about five miles away and we

9 both travelled together.

10 Q. Just let me stop you there. Please just listen

11 carefully to the questions I ask you. I've asked you

12 about security force activity on Sunday evening.

13 A. There was quite a substantial security force in the

14 area.

15 Q. Can we look at RNI-802-107 (displayed), paragraph 5.

16 This is your statement to the Inquiry. You say:

17 "There was trouble to Saturday, 13 March. However,

18 the worst of it was on Sunday, 14 March. There was not

19 only a high security force presence on the ground on

20 Sunday evening, but also a helicopter hovering overhead

21 which remained in place until the early hours of Monday

22 morning."

23 Yes?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. So as far as you are concerned, that's what you are

 

 

57

 

1 saying about Sunday night?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Just dealing with this helicopter, when did you notice

4 this helicopter that you mention in your statement

5 there?

6 A. Well -- sorry, do you mean the helicopter on Sunday

7 evening?

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. Or do you want to hear about the helicopter presence

10 over the whole weekend?

11 Q. No, on the Sunday evening, please.

12 A. On the Sunday evening, I would finish work approximately

13 11.30. My partner wouldn't finish until about 1 o'clock

14 in the morning, so I would normally go with Ann and do

15 the last few deliveries along with Ann to keep her

16 company. At one stage, Ann passed the remark to me she

17 noticed a bright light in the sky.

18 Q. Forgive me for interrupting you, I'm going to be bossy.

19 The questions was when did you notice the helicopter?

20 A. The helicopter had been there over the weekend.

21 Q. On the Sunday evening, when did you first notice the

22 helicopter?

23 A. The helicopter had been there because I heard it

24 hovering in the area, I heard it hovering several times

25 during the evening. When I actually noticed it and paid

 

 

58

 

1 attention to it was when Ann passed a remark to me about

2 the bright light in the sky. She thought it was a star.

3 When I got out of the vehicle, I heard the helicopter

4 hovering I said, "No, Ann, it was a helicopter".

5 Q. When was that?

6 A. That would have been some time around midnight on Sunday

7 evening, Monday morning.

8 Q. Can we call up RNI-802-110 (displayed), please? Where

9 were you when you got out of the car?

10 A. I was at the rear of William Street, at the rear of the

11 premises.

12 Q. Can we highlight paragraph 18? We just can see there:

13 "I can't recall when I first saw the helicopter but

14 I particularly recall seeing it between 12.30 am to

15 1.00 am on Monday morning, after Ann had just finished

16 work."

17 Yes?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Now, I'm not going to take you to them, to try and save

20 time, but let me just tell you, I hope, fairly, that in

21 your statement to the Pat Finucane Centre you said that

22 you saw the helicopter, or you particularly noticed the

23 helicopter at about 10.30?

24 A. As I say, I noticed the helicopter --

25 Q. Just bear with me. At about 10.30 when you pointed it

 

 

59

 

1 out to your partner. You noticed it from

2 William Street. In your statement to the police, you

3 say that you saw the helicopter at around 9.45 pm, you

4 were aware of it, and at about midnight you saw it

5 again. So I'm just give giving you those times because

6 you have told us things may have changed in your memory.

7 So sitting there now, roughly when did you see that

8 helicopter?

9 A. As I say, I'd I would have noticed the helicopter on

10 several occasions over the weekend. But I can't really

11 say for definite I've seen it at seven o'clock,

12 eight o'clock because I wouldn't have been paying

13 attention to because there was no reason to.

14 Q. But the point that you noticed it --

15 A. Was the bright light.

16 Q. -- was when you were getting out of the car at the rear

17 the premises?

18 A. That would have been after midnight, around midnight

19 towards the end of Ann's shift.

20 Q. Thank you.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Could you give us the date of the statement

22 to the police while you have got it there, and if there

23 is a date to the statement to the Finucane Centre?

24 MR SAVILL: I'm sorry, I should have mentioned them, sir.

25 The police statement was 17 May 1999 and the Finucane

 

 

60

 

1 Centre statement was 24 March 1999. The reference for

2 Pat Finucane Centre is RNI-835-154 and the police

3 statement is RNI-835-155.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

5 MR SAVILL: I do apologise, I was attempting to take matters

6 shortly.

7 Now, we are going to come to some police activity in

8 and around Lake Street that you have told us about; yes?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Now, before we do, though, what day do you say this was

11 taking place?

12 A. To the best of my knowledge, it happened on the Sunday

13 evening.

14 Q. Now, again taking matters shortly, if I may -- we have

15 got the references -- I can tell you that you say Sunday

16 was the day in all of your statements to this Inquiry,

17 to the police and to the fact Finucane Centre. So why

18 are you so sure as to be able to say that it was

19 definitely the Sunday as, for example, opposed to the

20 Saturday?

21 A. I will explain to you. On Saturday evening -- would be

22 the busiest evening in the restaurant and teatime would

23 be very busy. On the night that I seen the heavy police

24 presence, it was Mothers' Day, we weren't busy, I only

25 possibly had three deliveries. So that makes me sure

 

 

61

 

1 that it was the Sunday. And I wasn't so busy and my

2 partner was able to go and travel with me, which

3 wouldn't happen on a Saturday.

4 Q. So take us through this. You say your partner was

5 with you?

6 A. Yes, I met my partner in the Lurgan Tarry area, where she

7 was doing a delivery, and I mentioned to her about the

8 smoke in the sky and she asked me had I any more

9 deliveries. I said I had one more in the Aghagallon

10 area. Now Aghagallon would be about five miles from

11 Lurgan, so Ann decided she would come with me -- park

12 the car and come with me and I would drop her off on the

13 way back.

14 Q. Why would you do that?

15 A. We actually seen the smoke in the sky and I suppose,

16 like a few other people, we just wanted to enquire where

17 it was. So we took a drive. It was in the direction we

18 were going, so we just basically went together to see

19 what we could see.

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. We never came across where the smoke was coming from and

22 to this day no one has told me where it was. Sorry, I

23 think the RUC said it was a skip on fire.

24 Q. Let's not be sidetracked by that, but you go off

25 together to make the delivery?

 

 

62

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And please tell us what you saw on the way back?

3 A. On the way back, there was a high presence of police at

4 the top of Levin Road and Victoria Street. This would

5 be approximately a quarter of a mile from Mrs Nelson's

6 home on the same road. There was some bottles being

7 fired by youths and paint -- cans of paint, et cetera,

8 were being fired. So we decided we would get back to

9 base as fast as possible. And we did that.

10 Q. Now, if we could just call up on to the screen the map,

11 please (displayed)?

12 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Whilst the dreaded map is coming up,

13 Mr Byrne, can I just ask you, when you say firing

14 bottles, that was bottles full of petrol, was it?

15 A. Basically just bricks and bottles.

16 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Just ordinary bottles?

17 A. I did notice a Land Rover with paint on it, but that

18 could have been there from Saturday.

19 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay. Thank you very much.

20 MR SAVILL: Unfortunately, we cannot have the map and the

21 statement on the screen at the same time. Let's have

22 a look at the map. Can you just familiarise yourself

23 with it?

24 You have mentioned Levin Road, which you can see

25 above the railway line near the centre of the map?

 

 

63

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. If you follow across, you go across Lake Street into

3 Victoria Street. Can you see that?

4 A. If you could just take your cursor back into Levin Road,

5 down Levin Road. There is a slight incline coming up

6 Levin Road to the crossroads. When you come to the

7 crossroads with Victoria Street, on both sides of the

8 road in Lake Street was a police presence of maybe up to

9 five Land Rovers.

10 Q. So on the crossroads?

11 A. On the crossroads to the right and left, which would be

12 Lake Street, there was some Land Rovers. I think there

13 was one on one side and maybe three or four on the other

14 side.

15 Q. I think it is right to say that you also recall a Land

16 Rover being present on Victoria Street?

17 A. I remember a Land Rover being present. As you cross the

18 crossroads, there is a -- the GAA club is on your

19 left-hand side, so it could be 500 or 600 yards before

20 the housing actually starts on the left-hand side of

21 Victoria Street. I noticed a police Land Rover and

22 perhaps a police car and they were speaking with someone

23 three, four or five doors along the street.

24 Q. And you say in your statement that there were police

25 officers rapping on the door?

 

 

64

 

1 A. I thought it was possibly a summons being delivered, but

2 there was a very high level of police for that sort of

3 thing.

4 Q. Because we can't put the statements up on the screen at

5 the same time -- it is important to have the map there,

6 I think -- can I just tell you, or ask you, in your

7 statement to the Pat Finucane Centre, you say that:

8 "When we went back down into Victoria Street ..."

9 And you also say:

10 "We were coming along Victoria Street to the

11 junction with Lake Street."

12 So the suggestion in your Pat Finucane statement is

13 that you are actually coming the other way towards

14 Lake Street?

15 A. Sorry?

16 Q. The suggestion in your Pat Finucane Centre statement is

17 that you were coming down Victoria Street to the

18 junction with Lake Street; yes?

19 A. No. I would be coming from Levin Road across the

20 junction.

21 Q. I'm just putting to you the other things that you have

22 said.

23 A. Sorry.

24 Q. That's the first thing.

25 A. Right.

 

 

65

 

1 Q. In your statement to the Murder Investigation Team, you

2 say:

3 "As I returned to Victoria Street, I noticed about

4 five Land Rovers parked on Lake Street."

5 Okay?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. So what I'm going to ask you is, bearing in mind I have

8 now told that you there is a slight difference to your

9 account as to where you were coming from, where do you

10 say you were coming from?

11 A. I was coming from Levin Road. I would have went to my

12 delivery along Victoria Street and over -- down into

13 Levin Road initially.

14 Q. But you didn't see anything on the way out?

15 A. I didn't notice anything. I knew there had been

16 friction in the road, but I didn't notice the high level

17 of police presence at the crossroads on the way out, no.

18 Q. The other point arising out of these statements, you

19 say, as I have just read out, in your police statement

20 that "I" noticed. I just want, again, to ask you, are

21 you telling us that you are certain that it was in fact

22 the two of you?

23 A. As I say to you, it is hard to remember over nine years

24 ago things that happened because Ann would be travelling

25 along with me maybe three times a night. So I could

 

 

66

 

1 possibly have mixed the times up, possibly.

2 Q. But have you mixed up who was in the car when you saw

3 this activity going on?

4 A. I think I dropped Ann off on Levin Road where she parked

5 the car, and I think Ann said to me, "It looks like

6 something is going on here" and she got into her own

7 car, to the best of my knowledge.

8 Q. Just finally dealing with the incident itself, the way

9 in which the police were behaving, you I think said you

10 thought they may be delivering a summons.

11 What I want to ask you is this: the way in which

12 they were behaving -- it may seem a silly question --

13 was in the way that police behave; there was nothing

14 suspicious about what you saw, was there?

15 A. Sorry, in what context do you mean --

16 Q. You have described seeing some Land Rovers, police

17 officers banging on a door, members of the public

18 throwing objects?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. What I'm saying to you is that whilst that might be an

21 unpleasant scene --

22 A. I have noticed those things happening before, yes.

23 Q. What I'm saying is there weren't people hiding or acting

24 suspiciously amongst the police?

25 A. Oh, no.

 

 

67

 

1 Q. They appeared to be going about their job. Is that

2 fair, or not?

3 A. As I say, I was in a car passing the police vehicle.

4 Members of the police force were rapping at the door. I

5 don't know whether there was youths in the back yard or

6 what it was, but --

7 Q. From what you saw though --

8 A. I didn't see the police acting in any way suspiciously.

9 They were rapping on a door and I travelled on in the

10 direction of Lurgan.

11 Q. Thank you. Mr Byrne, finally is there anything you

12 would like to tell us that I haven't asked, or is there

13 something you feel we should know before you are

14 released from giving evidence?

15 A. I don't think so, no. There was a high level of

16 activity in the area the whole weekend, and as a matter

17 of fact, on the Monday, the day the incident took place,

18 my daughter went to Tannaghmore School, which is very

19 close in proximity to where Rosemary lost her life. And

20 there was rumours spread around the town there was

21 something happened in the Tannaghmore area. I went to

22 see my daughter was okay at school and there was a high

23 British Army activity in the area, and I was stopped by

24 the Army and told not to worry, there was a car accident

25 on the road and your daughter would be okay. Other than

 

 

68

 

1 that, everything was quite normal.

2 MR SAVILL: I see. Thank you very much. Sir?

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Byrne, thank you very much indeed for

4 coming to give evidence before us. You may go now,

5 thank you.

6 A. Thank you very much.

7 MS ANN MCALEENAN (sworn)

8 Questions by MR SAVILL

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Please sit down.

10 MR SAVILL: Could you tell us your name, please?

11 A. Ann Maria McAleenan.

12 Q. Thank you. You have given a statement to this Inquiry,

13 if we can call it up, at RNI-813-721 (displayed). You

14 can see that's your first page, and at the rear of the

15 statement, RNI-813-735 (displayed), your signature and

16 date?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Perhaps at this stage it might be helpful if I also ask

19 for RNI-835-150 to be called up (displayed). That is

20 a statement that you gave to the Pat Finucane Centre.

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Dated 23 March 1999. And also if I ask for RNI-835-152

23 to be called up (displayed). I'm sorry this isn't in

24 the normal format, but this is a version of the

25 statement that you gave to the Murder Investigation Team

 

 

69

 

1 looking into the murder of Rosemary Nelson on

2 3 September 1999; yes?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Thank you very much. Now, I'm going to begin, I hope,

5 by not embarrassing you, but I think it is right to say

6 that you were a divorcee?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And as a result of that, I believe that you were

9 recommended Mrs Nelson as a solicitor?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Did you engage her --

12 A. No.

13 Q. -- as your solicitor?

14 A. No.

15 Q. You didn't?

16 A. No.

17 Q. Did you have any dealings with her professionally

18 at all?

19 A. No.

20 Q. And as regards her as a person socially or in the local

21 area, what did you know about her?

22 A. Really I didn't really know a whole lot about Mrs Nelson

23 at all. I just knew she was a solicitor in the town.

24 Q. And you yourself never had any personal dealings with

25 her?

 

 

70

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. Are you able to tell us what view was held of her at

3 all, or not?

4 A. Well, she was just highly regarded, like I mean for -- I

5 was -- she was -- how can I put it? Someone suggested

6 for me to get her because she is good with women going

7 through divorces and stuff like that.

8 Q. I think you are very nervous about giving your evidence?

9 A. I am, I am. I'm sorry.

10 Q. Which is perfectly understandable and I'm probably

11 making it ten times as worse. Feel free to try and

12 relax as much as you can. There is some water there for

13 you. Take it slowly. If I'm going too fast, please

14 stop me and say so. It is not meant to be an ordeal.

15 On familiar territory, Mr Byrne: Your partner?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Of some years, I think?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And certainly your partner in 1999 when you were both,

20 at least in the evenings, engaged in a very similar line

21 of work?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And that was delivering takeaway food around the Lurgan

24 area?

25 A. That's right, yes.

 

 

71

 

1 Q. Albeit for different, perhaps competitor businesses?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. As far as you were both concerned, March 1999, the

4 weekend of 13/14 March, you were working individually on

5 your own?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Yes?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And can you tell us, please, what you recall -- we will

10 come to a particular incident near Lake Street, but

11 generally on the Sunday evening of security force

12 activity?

13 A. Generally there was an awful lot of activity that

14 particular weekend. You know, it was just -- it was --

15 it hadn't been happening, it hadn't. I mean, you know,

16 we deliver every weekend and it had been very quiet and

17 then just all of sudden this seemed to blow up for no

18 reason. It seemed to be going on and it was going on

19 Saturday/Sunday, and Sunday there just seemed to be

20 a lot of police Land Rovers down in the Kilwilke area.

21 Q. Could we -- I'm sorry?

22 A. Sorry, go on.

23 Q. My fault. Could we just highlight paragraph 3, which is

24 on this same page, please? I'm sorry, page RNI-835-722

25 (displayed). The bottom quarter of that. You say:

 

 

72

 

1 "My recollection of events is that there was high

2 security force presence on Lake Street near the Kilwilke

3 Estate on Saturday, 13 March 1999. On the

4 Sunday,14 March 1999, it was quieter round the Kilwilke

5 Estate."

6 Is that still your recollection?

7 A. I'm just not 100 per cent sure whether I have got --

8 I know that the Saturday and the Sunday there was the

9 police force, there was the Land Rovers. Maybe I have

10 just got dates mixed up. I'm just not 100 per cent sure

11 whether it was Saturday or Sunday, but there was one of

12 those particular nights anyway that -- when there is

13 a lot of police Land Rovers and that, there was quite

14 a few to one side and quite a few on the other --

15 Q. We are going to come to that. I'm just talking to you

16 generally, where you seem to be saying that generally it

17 was quieter on the Sunday around the Kilwilke Estate.

18 Is that applicable to the security force activity?

19 A. I'm just not 100 per cent whether it was the Saturday or

20 the Sunday.

21 Q. That it was quieter?

22 A. Hm-mm.

23 Q. All right.

24 A. I'm sorry, it is so long ago and I'm mixed up with the

25 dates, you know.

 

 

73

 

1 Q. That's quite all right. I'll take you to your statement

2 made nearer the time when we are dealing with the

3 particular incident. But as far as helicopter activity

4 was concerned; yes?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. I think I'm right in saying that you specifically recall

7 particularly the helicopter Sunday night or early hours

8 of Monday morning. Is that right?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Do you recollect when that was and where you were, why

11 you noticed it?

12 A. I was in the car with Martin. So with Martin in the car

13 with me -- my job, I had to work -- I had to work

14 later -- an hour later than him. So he was finished his

15 work, so it was after half 11 and I didn't finish until

16 1 o'clock. I would think it was around the time near --

17 closer to when I was finishing, about quarter to 1.

18 Q. Can we call up RNI-835-724, please, and highlight

19 paragraph 8 (displayed), certainly the top part of it,

20 we can see, third line down you say:

21 "However, in the early hours of Monday morning,

22 I recall seeing the helicopter. I finished work at

23 about 12.45 am and I recall sitting in the car with

24 Martin and seeing a very, very bright light. I asked

25 Martin whether it was a star. We later determined that

 

 

74

 

1 this light was from a helicopter. I hadn't seen

2 anything like it before. I don't recall seeing any

3 other kind of light, such as green light, on a

4 helicopter, which was also unusual. I only remember

5 seeing a really bright white light."

6 You go on to say:

7 "The helicopter appeared to be hovering over

8 Ashgrove Grange."

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. "I cannot say whether it was there all night as the

11 first I noticed it was sitting in the car after work at

12 12.45 am."

13 Yes?

14 A. That's right.

15 Q. So does that square with your recollection?

16 A. It is because I had mentioned it to Martin. I said is

17 that a star? It is a very bright star. Is that a star?

18 It was then, when I got out, that I heard the sound of

19 the helicopter, yes. But it was very bright and it was

20 just hovering over one area. It wasn't moving, it

21 wasn't actually moving.

22 Q. Now, dealing with the incident that you have alluded to

23 a moment ago, the Land Rovers being parked around

24 a junction, are you able to recollect -- or is this what

25 you are saying you are confused about -- which night you

 

 

75

 

1 saw that?

2 A. I'm just not 100 per cent sure which night it was.

3 I know it happened on one of the two nights because

4 I remember I was sitting in the car, there was a crowd

5 of youths, there were a lot of police and there was

6 petrol bombs and paint bombs, and one of them went

7 flying over and I thought the whole car was covered --

8 the roof of the car was covered in paint. There was a

9 lot of activity going on.

10 Q. Well, if I can try and help you again taking the matter

11 shortly, in your statement to the Pat Finucane Centre

12 you seem to be of the view that it was on the Sunday

13 night, and in your statement to the police team you were

14 also of the view that it was the Sunday night?

15 A. I am. It was a Sunday night. That would have been

16 closer to the time the interview was done then.

17 Q. You understand what I'm doing. I'm not putting words in

18 your mouth --

19 A. Yes, then it was Sunday night. I just got confused on

20 dates. When it has been so long, like the eight years

21 of a gap, I just got confused --

22 Q. So to summarise, what you are saying is you can't

23 remember, but bearing in mind in two statements made

24 much nearer the time you said Sunday, it was probably

25 Sunday?

 

 

76

 

1 A. It was definitely Sunday, yes.

2 Q. Now, I think on occasion you shared a vehicle with

3 Mr Byrne?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Why was that?

6 A. Well, I had -- we were going into the Kilwilke area and

7 I didn't know that he'd been going in. I was going in

8 with pizzas. When we got into Kilwilke itself, we could

9 see there was smoke coming from somewhere, really black

10 smoke as if something on fire somewhere. And I just

11 happened to notice him on the road and I had stopped. I

12 had done my delivery and he said, "Get in". So --

13 I only had one delivery. He would have several because

14 it wasn't -- so I got into the car with him. So we

15 started to sort of look to see what was burning, what

16 was going on. He had a delivery out that direction

17 anyway.

18 Q. So we can call up RNI-835-722, please, paragraph 4

19 (displayed)? Now, this is where you say Saturday, but

20 we have covered that.

21 But you say, middle of the paragraph:

22 "Once there, I met Martin who was doing his second

23 run of deliveries. If possible, we would do our

24 deliveries together. If I'd finished my delivery, I

25 would therefore park my nephew's car, which I was

 

 

77

 

1 borrowing at the time, and got into Martin's car to

2 complete his deliveries. We drove around the North

3 Circular Road to make the delivery."

4 Yes?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. So off you go together to do this. Jumping ahead, there

7 comes a time when you see this incident at the junction;

8 yes? Were you on your own or were you with Martin at

9 that stage?

10 A. No, the incident was all happening after I had got

11 back -- come back from doing the delivery in Aghagallon.

12 We had come back. I got into my car, the nephew's car,

13 and we were driving back up, coming back up the hill.

14 So I was on my own.

15 Q. So you were --

16 A. That was on my way back that all this incident happened.

17 Q. Again, just to be fair to you, you say in your statement

18 to us, this Inquiry, and to the Pat Finucane Centre that

19 it was you on your own, but in your statement to the

20 police you, I think, say that it was the two of you in

21 the car together. But to the best of your recollection,

22 you were on your own?

23 A. Oh, no, I was on my own when the paint, the petrol --

24 no, I was on my own.

25 Q. Can we please call up on to the screen the map

 

 

78

 

1 (displayed)? Now, just take a moment and I hope

2 relatively easily you can see familiar landmarks like

3 the North Circular Road, Castor Bay Road and so on,

4 Lake Street, Levin Road?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Yes?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Now, just tell us, please, where you were and what you

9 saw. You were driving along?

10 A. Sorry, where I was when I saw -- when the --

11 Q. The incident that you described to us.

12 A. All right. At the top of Victoria Street, yes, a lot --

13 all the Land Rovers and, yes, they were all there. But

14 that's mainly the -- we used a lot of -- the housing

15 estates on both sides, you know.

16 Q. And where were you coming along?

17 A. I was, sorry, coming up Levin Road.

18 Q. Yes, and you were approaching Lake Street?

19 A. Hm-mm.

20 Q. How many Land Rovers did you see?

21 A. There was two or three. They were covered in paint and

22 there was two or three on the left-hand side.

23 Q. Are you struggling to remember?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. I ask you that for a reason. Let me help you. Just

 

 

79

 

1 before we get rid of the map -- we can all hold the

2 picture in our mind -- you are coming along Levin Road.

3 Do you actually go into Victoria Street or do you turn

4 at the junction?

5 A. No, I'm going straight down Victoria Street.

6 Q. So you are coming up Levin and straight down

7 Victoria Street?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Could we call up RNI-812-723, please (displayed) and

10 highlight paragraph 5:

11 "We completed the delivery and Martin returned me to

12 my car in Lurgan Tarry, and I drove back through the

13 Kilwilke Estate along Levin Road.

14 "As I approached Lake Street, I saw young lads

15 throwing glass milk bottles of paint over the police

16 Land Rovers. The Land Rovers were covered in every

17 colour of paint. The fellows came close to the car and

18 I recall thinking, "Jesus Christ, get me out of here".

19 I was at the top of Lake Street at the crossroads with

20 Levin Road when this occurred. There was one Land Rover

21 on the left side of Lake Street and three on the right.

22 I also remember seeing one Land Rover on Victoria Street

23 straight ahead. I recall that the Land Rovers had

24 searchlights on top of them. They were following the

25 boys in a running battle."

 

 

80

 

1 Yes?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Now, was this the only incident of this kind at that

4 location that you saw that evening?

5 A. Well, to be very truthful, after that happened to me,

6 I tried to avoid --

7 Q. Quite, that's understandable?

8 A. I tried to avoid that -- yes.

9 Q. You see, again, I'm not making any criticism of either

10 you or him, but it seems to be Mr Byrne's evidence that

11 a similar incident, if not the same, was witnessed by

12 both of you travelling along Levin Road in the same car?

13 A. Well, I just can't remember really. I really just

14 can't. We could have been in the car together at

15 another time, but that one just sticks out in my head

16 because I was in the car on my own and I was frightened

17 for my life, like.

18 Q. I think the obvious question for me to ask is was there

19 an occasion when were travelling in the car with

20 Mr Byrne when you saw the similar incident at that

21 location?

22 A. That was going on all night. It could have been.

23 I just cannot tell you now, it has been that long ago.

24 I'm sorry.

25 Q. That's quite all right. Just, again, to complete the

 

 

81

 

1 picture, your statement to the Pat Finucane Centre is

2 silent on the direction you were travelling in, and as

3 far as your statement to the police is concerned, you

4 did indeed say, as you have to this Inquiry, that you

5 were travelling along Levin Road?

6 A. Hm-mm.

7 Q. The ordeal is over, you will be pleased to hear. Is

8 there anything that you would like to tell us that you

9 haven't mentioned already?

10 A. I am fine. I'm just sorry I have got dates mixed up.

11 Q. Not at all.

12 A. You know, it has been so long.

13 Q. Not at all. We are very grateful for you coming.

14 A. Okay, thank you.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for coming. Mr Byrne is

16 waiting for you in the back of the room. So we can

17 break off now.

18 A. Thank you.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: We will break off until 2 o'clock.

20 MR SAVILL: Thank you.

21 (12.36 pm)

22 (The short adjournment)

23 (2.00 pm)

24 THE CHAIRMAN: The checklist, Mr Currans. Is the public

25 area screen fully in place, locked and the key secured?

 

 

82

 

1 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the fire doors on either side of the

3 screen closed?

4 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

6 and securely fastened?

7 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

9 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

10 of this chamber?

11 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Mr (name redacted), can you please

13 confirm that the two witness cameras have been switched

14 off and shrouded?

15 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: All the other cameras have been switched off?

17 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

19 Bring the witness in, please.

20 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

21 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

22 switched back on.

23 A188 (affirmed)

24 Questions by MR SAVILL

25 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Savill?

 

 

83

 

1 MR SAVILL: Thank you, sir.

2 Before we begin to go through your evidence, can

3 I just ask that called on to the screen, please, is

4 RNI-840-229 (displayed). That is the first page of your

5 witness statement. And please could we also have on the

6 screen the final page, which is RNI-840-240 (displayed)?

7 Now, you can't see your signature there, but there

8 is a, date 18 September 2008; yes?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Now, at the risk of stating the obvious, you will note

11 that there is a cipher instead of your name?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. So obviously I will remind you of the fact now that that

14 is the case, and you should also have in front of you

15 what is headed a cipher list. Should we descend to talk

16 about anybody, please, before you name anyone, consider

17 whether they are on that list, obviously not using their

18 name, but referring instead to the cipher?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Do you understand?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Thank you very much. Now, can you begin, please, by

23 telling us in very short order the length of your

24 service within the Royal Irish Regiment?

25 A. It was five -- just over five years, I think.

 

 

84

 

1 Q. If we look at this first paragraph, we can see on the

2 screen that you were a private from

3 approximately November 1995 to December 2000?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And in the last sentence, very sadly, we can see that it

6 appears you were forced, if I can use that expression,

7 to leave the Army because you suffered an injury?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And you were a private when you left?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And had there not been the car crash, would it be fair

12 of me to suggest that you would probably have stayed for

13 a longer period serving in the Army?

14 A. My full term, yes.

15 Q. What was your full term?

16 A. 22 years.

17 Q. As long as that?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. So you saw yourself as a career soldier?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. You joined the Army in November 1995. Please help me

22 with this: What was your motivation? What drove you to

23 seek to join the Army and serve in it?

24 A. Well, it wasn't until after I left school that, you

25 know, I thought -- I had even thought about joining the

 

 

85

 

1 Army, but just -- I tried a number of different jobs,

2 you know, when I left school, some were factory jobs and

3 some were building site jobs and they never lasted. So

4 I thought, you know, the wide range of things you can do

5 in the Army, the different jobs, the different

6 activities, things that you can do -- I needed a lot of

7 different things to keep me interested in something, so

8 after going to an open day in the Army barracks, then I

9 just thought that's why I wanted to join the Army.

10 Q. How old were you when you joined the Army?

11 A. 18, I think. 19.

12 Q. So still a late teenager?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And you left in your early 20s?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Would you describe yourself as a mature young man when

17 you joined the Army?

18 A. Not when I joined the Army, no, I wasn't. But after six

19 months of training, I would consider that I grew up

20 a lot within the six months' training that I had done.

21 Q. And I would have thought those who trained you probably

22 thought that was a job well done then. Is that fair?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Yes. Talking about the reason for you joining the Army,

25 was there any political reason or ideological reason --

 

 

86

 

1 that is a bit of a grand word -- in your mind as to what

2 you thought you were doing in joining the Army?

3 A. There was a thought that I could make a difference to

4 the situation that was going on within this country that

5 we live in. No other political reasons. Just I felt

6 like I could try to make a difference to things that

7 happened or things that went on.

8 Q. I'm sorry to pester you, but just help me with what that

9 means. What did you think making a difference would

10 involve?

11 A. Well, you were seeing on the news all the time there was

12 bombs, people were being shot. You know, by soldiers

13 being out there, I'm sure stopped some of these acts,

14 some of these things that had been going on. And just

15 at the time, at the open day and stuff, while I was

16 thinking of joining the Army, I thought that I could be

17 there helping make a difference to these things as well.

18 Q. So really what you are saying is you wanted to play your

19 part in preventing acts of terrorism. Would that be

20 a fair way of describing it?

21 A. Yes, that is, yes.

22 Q. Now, looking, if I can, at the second paragraph that we

23 have got on the screen there, you say about five lines

24 up from the bottom:

25 "Then my uncle was killed on the doorstep of the

 

 

87

 

1 house where I used to live by a local IRA man when I was

2 15. I did not decide to join the Army at this time, but

3 did so a number of years later."

4 What part, if any, did that terrible tragedy play in

5 your decision to join?

6 A. Part -- it played partly. That was maybe one of the

7 reasons why I felt like I wanted to make a difference

8 to -- or maybe stop this from happening in other places,

9 to other people.

10 Q. And you go on to say that:

11 "There were a great many people in Northern Ireland

12 more bitter than I was, though ..."

13 I hope it is a fair inference from that sentence or

14 partial sentence that you were bitter?

15 A. Before I joined the Army, yes, I was.

16 Q. And when you just say "before I joined the Army", are

17 you saying that there came one morning where you weren't

18 bitter or it just passed over time? What are you

19 saying?

20 A. In a short period of time after joining the Army, after

21 being not just a teenager anymore, but seeing around and

22 seeing that -- you know, when I say bitter, where

23 I group up in a Protestant community, I would have seen

24 just everybody, Catholics, everybody, as another side,

25 but never had actually, you know, seen that everybody

 

 

88

 

1 wasn't just the same, if you know what I mean.

2 Q. I think I do, but perhaps I can try and help you. You

3 are saying that you grew up in one side of a divided

4 society?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. But joining the Army gave you an opportunity to see both

7 sides of the picture?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Is that fair?

10 A. Yes, that's fair, yes.

11 Q. But when you joined -- and, again, these are my words so

12 please feel free to disagree with me -- you were an

13 angry young man, or a bitter young man?

14 A. Bitter, yes, even in my school. My school was

15 a Protestant school, and that's what you learnt from you

16 were young through your teenage years being at school

17 and stuff.

18 At that time here, like, you know, not a lot of

19 communities mixed with each other. You know, you never

20 got the opportunity to spend any time with, you know,

21 a -- a Catholic or a Catholic never got very much

22 opportunity to spend time with a Protestant. But, you

23 know, it was -- then after I joined the Army, it was

24 then when I realised that just a normal Catholic person

25 was just the same as a normal Protestant person. It

 

 

89

 

1 didn't mean just because they were a Catholic, they were

2 actually a terrorist, where a lot of young people in

3 their mind, in their heads, that's what they would have

4 thought while they were a teenager until they had the

5 opinions that changed their own mind, rather than what

6 they had been brought up to not believe, but think.

7 Q. So what you are saying is -- and if I may say so, I'm

8 very grateful because obviously you are telling us some

9 very intimate matters about your personal life and

10 thoughts -- you were a product of your upbringing?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Is that right?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And that upbringing instilled prejudice?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. But you told us that when you joined the Army you were

17 bitter, and the reasons for that. Did you find there

18 were, if I can put it this way, similarly bitter members

19 of the Army you were mixing with?

20 A. Not in the Army, no. I wouldn't say that everybody

21 shared the same opinions or the same views as me that

22 was in the Army. When I speak about people in general

23 in Northern Ireland that I would have went to school

24 with, circle of friends and stuff when I was younger,

25 that's who I speak about when I mean the people in

 

 

90

 

1 Northern Ireland. But generally, there was a lot of

2 views and opinions kept to yourself in the Army.

3 Q. But was the Army that you joined not to an extent

4 a cross-section of the society from which you had come

5 or you were a member of?

6 A. It was, yes. But also there was Catholics also in the

7 Army along with me and in my company as well.

8 Q. Yes. So it was a cross-section to an extent of the

9 whole of society?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And are you saying that, as a result, there may well

12 have been people who had suffered similar experiences as

13 yourself?

14 A. Possibly.

15 Q. But you are saying it wasn't overtly the case?

16 A. No.

17 Q. That people were of a similar mindset as you when you

18 joined?

19 A. No.

20 Q. I think I'm right in saying that you went part-time at

21 first?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And just so I understand that, that presumably means

24 there would be weeks when you would be serving and weeks

25 when you wouldn't be. Is that how it worked, or was it

 

 

91

 

1 evenings?

2 A. Two nights a week and weekends.

3 Q. But that was, to give you a taste -- and, again, I don't

4 want to put words in your mouth, but I think it is fair

5 to say that you thoroughly enjoyed the experience of

6 that part-time work, and as a result of that you signed

7 on for what you have told us was a 22-year period of

8 service in the Army?

9 A. Well, you didn't actually sign on for 22 years. You are

10 only allowed to do it for three years at a time. But

11 you were allowed a term of 22 years.

12 Q. And just tell us, please, how much did you enjoy the

13 work?

14 A. I enjoyed it, thoroughly enjoyed it. But because of --

15 like from going working in factories to like standing in

16 one place all day and for eight hours doing this here or

17 putting something into a box or lifting things off

18 a shelf, you know, to go into the Army and be involved

19 with, you know, the security of your own company was

20 enjoyable. I loved it.

21 Q. Yes. I don't obviously speak for anyone in the room,

22 but there are some people who really drag themselves out

23 of bed every morning to go to work. But having read

24 your statement, if I may say so, the impression it gives

25 is that you were absolutely as keen as mustard in the

 

 

92

 

1 work that you were carrying out?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And really you had found your niche?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Is that fair?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. You were doing a job you loved?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And if you say so yourself, you would say you were

10 good at?

11 A. Yes, I think I was good at it, yes.

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. I'm one of them people now that drags himself out of bed

14 to go to work.

15 MR SAVILL: I'll let you into a secret maybe later about how

16 I feel.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: What do you do now?

18 A. I'm a guard.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

20 MR SAVILL: Because, just so we recall, you suffered an

21 injury and you were forced to leave on medical grounds?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. So it would be no exaggeration to say that that was

24 a real tragedy for you?

25 A. It was, yes.

 

 

93

 

1 Q. Turning now to your roles and your duties, I know,

2 obviously that it is a massive task to tell us exactly

3 what you did on every single occasion, but just as

4 briefly as you can, could you explain to us, please,

5 what being in the Army at that time involved you doing?

6 A. Well, the main thing you would -- your main role that

7 you were told as a soldier was to support the RUC and to

8 help them with the prevention of any terrorist acts.

9 Q. And -- I'm sorry, in reality, day-to-day, tell us,

10 please, what you would do? How much of your time did

11 you spend, as it were, in the barracks? How much time

12 were on you patrol? What did you do when you were on

13 patrol and so on?

14 A. Well, generally on a day that you were working, you

15 would spend like an hour, maybe two hours, in the

16 barracks before your duty would commence. You would be

17 doing anything from satellite patrols, just, you know,

18 in a general area, noting down cars that had drove past

19 a certain place, and then you would be checked back in

20 the Army barracks to see if it was any known terrorist

21 or suspects that had been travelling along that road.

22 Vehicle checkpoints would have been the same. It was

23 type of like low level intelligence, just generally

24 finding out if, say, these routes had been used by

25 terrorists or if the terrorists or suspects had been on

 

 

94

 

1 these routes, why they were on these routes and what

2 were they doing. Sometimes it included searches of

3 buildings or wasteland, grounds.

4 Q. We will come to vehicle checkpoints in a moment. But

5 presumably knowledge and intelligence was extremely

6 important, and perhaps more so in your role than any

7 other in the Army at that time in Northern Ireland. You

8 needed to know who was who, what was going on, what

9 might be about to happen, what the links were between

10 various people and organisations. Is that right?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And in your statement at paragraph 4 on page RNI-840-230

13 (displayed), we can see that you explain to us that

14 before every shift started, you would report to the

15 barracks an hour earlier than your proper start time and

16 receive a briefing from the Int -- obviously

17 "intelligence" -- Cell:

18 "The room where these briefings took place was

19 covered from wall to wall with photos of suspects.

20 There would be terrorists on one wall and associates on

21 another. Associates were those who had not necessarily

22 been caught for doing anything but who were still

23 associated with the terrorists themselves. The

24 photographs were of both Loyalist and Republican

25 suspects."

 

 

95

 

1 Yes?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Again, if we see the final part of that paragraph, I

4 think that might be a little insight into your level of

5 interest. You say:

6 "... I knew every single person on the wall and the

7 registration plate of their car."

8 Again, I don't want you to think I'm being

9 patronising, but I think you are saying there were a lot

10 of people who didn't, but you were someone who took an

11 interest; yes?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. It is right to say, and you have mentioned this later

14 your statement, that to the best of your knowledge

15 Rosemary Nelson's picture never featured on those which

16 were on the wall?

17 A. No.

18 Q. Now, at these briefings was Rosemary Nelson's name ever

19 mentioned, do you remember?

20 A. No, not that I remember, no.

21 Q. When you went out and conducted vehicle checkpoints --

22 I don't want to go into too much detail, but basically

23 a checkpoint would ordinarily be manned by two Land

24 Rovers with four men in each?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

96

 

1 Q. Is that right?

2 A. Yes, that's right.

3 Q. And you would then be on the road or by the side of the

4 road with your commander in charge of the

5 communications, checking registration numbers, seeing if

6 there was any reason why a particular registration

7 number was of interest.

8 What would you, as it were, an ordinary soldier, be

9 doing? Would you be stopping, searching? What you be

10 doing?

11 A. Anything. You either had a job of cover, which was just

12 one of the soldiers that sort of patrolled the area that

13 you were in, covering you. You could either be the

14 stopper or you could either be -- it was a cal-trap,

15 there was the trap that was pulled across the road with

16 the spikes.

17 Q. I'm sorry, "cal". Does that stand for something or is

18 that the name of it?

19 A. I don't know.

20 Q. But C-A-L?

21 A. Yes. And them was the three jobs that -- and you could

22 have been doing any of them jobs at any checkpoint. It

23 was really basically the decision of the commander. He

24 could ask you one time, you stop this time, maybe next

25 time you do the cover or maybe next time you do the cal

 

 

97

 

1 trap.

2 Q. I think there were some training courses you could go on

3 as to how best to carry out a stop and search?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. I think I am also right in saying that you particularly

6 enjoyed being responsible for searches and signed up for

7 those courses?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Would it be fair to say that more often than not you

10 were a stopper and searcher?

11 A. More often, yes.

12 Q. Again, because you were keen?

13 A. Because I had spent the time to do the courses, that

14 taught me where to specifically -- not specifically, but

15 places on the car where you wouldn't even think of

16 looking to search and stuff like that there, where other

17 people that hadn't done them, it didn't mean they were

18 any less better a soldier, but just the fact that I had

19 done them courses then, the commanders that I had would

20 have preferred that I had done the stop and searches.

21 Q. And conducting these searches in the way that more often

22 than not you did, did that give you a sense of

23 satisfaction, a spring in your step, as it were?

24 A. Not a spring in my step, but it gave me a sense of

25 satisfaction that I had done my job properly. But

 

 

98

 

1 that's all.

2 Q. And as far as -- you talked a little bit about the

3 divided community. More often than not, I suspect, you

4 knew the people you were stopping, which side of the

5 community they may be from?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Was there a habit in the Army at this time that one side

8 was stopped more than the other, would you say?

9 A. Not in general, no.

10 Q. And as far as you were concerned, were you ever the

11 person who made a decision about who should be stopped,

12 or was that your commander?

13 A. Whoever was the stopper was the person that decided who

14 would be stopped. I think it would have been the

15 commander's decision whether there would be a search of

16 that car done or not, but in most cases, where it was

17 a car of interest or a person of interest, the search --

18 there would have been no question about the search.

19 Q. But it was certainly within your gift, as it were, as to

20 who was stopped?

21 A. Yes, who was stopped but not searched.

22 Q. No. And as far as you are aware, were there ever any

23 occasions that persons of interest, if I can repeat that

24 expression, were either not stopped when they should

25 have been or were stopped but not searched when they

 

 

99

 

1 should have been -- waved through, if you like, on the

2 nod?

3 A. Not that I can recall, no.

4 Q. Well, we can break it down. I'll ask you bluntly, did

5 you ever do that?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Did you ever hear of anybody else doing that?

8 A. No.

9 Q. You didn't. Now, how did people tend to react when they

10 were stopped and then obviously separately searched?

11 A. Generally hostile. Not hostile, but not helpful, not

12 helpful to get it done as quickly as possible and have

13 it over with, but just hostile, like -- upset, put out,

14 that they have been stopped in their journey.

15 Q. If we place to one side what I'll call normal members of

16 the community and then on the other side we have

17 suspects or persons of interest, how did they tend to

18 react?

19 A. Which, sorry?

20 Q. Suspects, I'm sorry.

21 A. Hostile.

22 Q. Was there a difference between the different sides?

23 A. Of suspects?

24 Q. Yes.

25 A. Not really, no.

 

 

100

 

1 Q. As to their reaction?

2 A. No.

3 Q. What about complaints?

4 A. Well, I think generally any complaints that I can recall

5 in my service was made by Republicans, maybe a few that

6 I remember made by Loyalists.

7 Q. If we can call up RNI-840-233, please (displayed), the

8 bottom paragraph, 16, please:

9 "Although we stopped Republican suspects from both

10 the IRA and the INLA, we never had a complaint out of

11 anyone from the INLA. These individuals always did what

12 you asked them to do. It was the prominent IRA people

13 that we had a problem with, as they tried it make doing

14 a stop and search as hard as possible."

15 A. That's right.

16 Q. That's what you said in your statement and you agree

17 with that today?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. If we call up, please, RNI-840-234, the next page

20 (displayed) and highlight the top paragraph, we can see

21 that you say:

22 "However, members of the IRA who were stopped would

23 stand in full view in order to be searched as they

24 wanted to make the process as hard as possible for us.

25 A lot of complaints that my company received were from

 

 

101

 

1 such individuals and a lot were represented by

2 Rosemary Nelson. The IRA saw themselves as being part

3 of a war and making complaints was just another battle."

4 Yes?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Now, can we just look at that in a little more detail?

7 You say, do you, that prominent members of the IRA would

8 make it very difficult for you; yes?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Even though you had "done nothing wrong", they would

11 make complaints?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Would they, as it were, complain as of right, every

14 single time that you stopped them?

15 A. Not every single time, no, but some of the complaints

16 that I know were put against me I know were fabricated

17 because I know that they aren't true.

18 Q. What about Loyalist suspects or terrorists? Did they

19 behave in the same way?

20 A. Not generally, no, no. Where I referenced to the

21 INLA -- in that reference that I make, when I made that,

22 I can generally only speak that -- out of my whole

23 service I can only ever remember twice that I had

24 stopped, you know, INLA suspects that I had been told

25 about in the Army barracks. And it was only then too

 

 

102

 

1 that -- you know, it was such an easy job, stop and

2 search, to do. That's the reference that I made. And

3 generally with the Loyalists it was the same, they

4 answered whatever questions you asked and did whatever

5 you asked and were on their way as quickly as possible.

6 Q. Now, would it be fair of me to say or not that these

7 complaints became rather tiresome?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And a source of irritation to you and your colleagues?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Not least because you would say they aren't true?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. But there was a complaints process, wasn't there?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. I mean, these people didn't just turn up at the police

16 station and start ranting at the desk. There was

17 a complaints process, wasn't there?

18 A. Yes, there was a process, but -- it is quite a long time

19 ago, but I do think that I remember people just turning

20 into the police station and making a complaint, not

21 about a particular soldier but about that patrol or that

22 section.

23 Q. And lots of the complaints, you say, were represented by

24 Rosemary Nelson. So does it follow that by her

25 association with complaints, which were a source of

 

 

103

 

1 irritation to you and your colleagues, she was perhaps

2 viewed in a similar vein, namely she was a nuisance?

3 A. Not to me, no. It was the people that were making the

4 complaints that was the nuisance. Rosemary Nelson just

5 brought the complaints.

6 Q. So is there a particular reason why, in this paragraph

7 of your statement, when you say a lot of complaints your

8 company received were from such individuals, you go on

9 to say:

10 "... and a lot were represented by Rosemary Nelson"?

11 A. Because they were.

12 Q. Just as a fact?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Now, dealing with Rosemary Nelson, I would like you to

15 cast your mind back to the first time that you met her?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And I believe that that was in the Lurgan police

18 station?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Yes?

21 A. That's right.

22 Q. Presumably not very uncommon for you to be in the Lurgan

23 police station?

24 A. It was the very first time I had ever been in Lurgan

25 police station.

 

 

104

 

1 Q. I see. And can you actually remember when it was?

2 A. I can't remember exactly when it was, but it was my very

3 first duty in Lurgan.

4 Q. So it must have been very close to the time that you

5 went full-time?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Or when you were part-time?

8 A. No, when I first joined, I think.

9 Q. And you met her, I think, on the back stairs?

10 A. That's right, yes.

11 Q. Just tell us how that came about, please?

12 A. Well, my section had been in Lurgan police station for

13 a break and they -- I had been up in the police canteen

14 and was going back down to my Land Rover, which was

15 parked at the back of Lurgan police station. And while

16 I was on my way down the back stairs to the car park,

17 I met Rosemary on the stairs, on her way up.

18 Q. Yes, and you spoke to her, did you?

19 A. No. We just walked past each other.

20 Q. You went past each other?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. You went where you were going and she went up?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Now, did you notice anything about her, as you passed

25 her?

 

 

105

 

1 A. Yes, I noticed the disfigurement on her face.

2 Q. And how did you react to that?

3 A. Not in any way that I recall, but Rosemary did make

4 a complaint to the CID against me on that occasion and

5 said I had insulted her by my reaction to her, but to

6 me, I didn't make any reaction. I didn't make any

7 physical reaction to Rosemary. All I can think is that,

8 well, I must have stared, maybe, as I passed her.

9 I have no idea. But she made a complaint against me on

10 that occasion.

11 Q. Stirred?

12 A. Maybe.

13 Q. Stared, I'm sorry. So you say that she made a complaint

14 to the CID?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Just to be fair to you, we, the Inquiry, have made

17 a request about complaints made against soldiers of the

18 Ministry of Defence and we have received -- I'm not

19 saying this critically -- no record of this complaint

20 being made. Are you certain that it was made?

21 A. Certain, yes. I was interviewed by the CID in Lurgan

22 not more than 10 minutes after. I was told that the

23 complaint was made.

24 Q. So you were hauled back in, as it were?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

106

 

1 Q. Now, you say -- just let's be very careful about this --

2 do you, that there was nothing that you did that would

3 have warranted a complaint?

4 A. No.

5 Q. What, do you recall, did she precisely say you had done

6 to warrant a complaint?

7 A. Insulted her.

8 Q. Verbally?

9 A. No. I can't remember. The CID man that had questioned

10 me just told me that I had insulted her and that that

11 was it.

12 Q. Did you not say, "What does she mean, insult her"?

13 A. I'm not sure. I'm not sure. There was nothing --

14 nothing came out of it ever again after that day that I

15 had been in the police station. So, like, 11 years ago

16 it has been forgot.

17 Q. But as far as you were concerned, this interview -- it

18 wasn't tape recorded, was it?

19 A. No, it was just in the CID office in Lurgan police

20 station.

21 Q. And was that the last that you heard of it?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. So far as you were concerned, nothing to warrant it?

24 A. No.

25 Q. How did you feel when you were walking back down the

 

 

107

 

1 stairs to resume your duties having been interviewed

2 about supposed insulting behaviour or words?

3 A. I don't think there was much feeling, just more that

4 I -- because at this time, I didn't know

5 Rosemary Nelson. I didn't know who she was. I didn't

6 even know she was a solicitor. So at the time it was

7 more because I did not understand what had just happened

8 or what I had done to insult this person, that I didn't

9 even know -- there wasn't -- like I say, there wasn't

10 much feeling. It was more not understanding.

11 Q. But you knew who she was as a result of being

12 interviewed?

13 A. After, yes.

14 Q. Yes. And as far as her injuries were concerned at the

15 time, did you know what this disfigurement was about?

16 A. No.

17 Q. How it happened?

18 A. No.

19 Q. Did you go on in the future to find out anything about

20 her disfigurement?

21 A. Well, I had been told by a policeman that when she was

22 a teenager, she fired a petrol bomb and it burned her

23 face, but I have since found out now that it was

24 a disfigurement from a birthmark.

25 Q. How long -- it may be difficult for you to say --

 

 

108

 

1 between being told by that policeman or whoever it was

2 for the first time she got it from a petrol bomb, was it

3 until you realised or were told the truth that it was

4 a facial disfigurement?

5 A. Last year. Eversheds, the solicitor that took my

6 statement, was the one that told me actually what

7 happened.

8 Q. So for a number of years you were under the impression

9 that she had received it from throwing a petrol bomb?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Rightly or wrongly, that was your impression?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And presumably that was common parlance, common

14 discussion within the Army and the police, was it, that

15 that was how she suffered that injury?

16 A. No, I have never heard that again or never heard anybody

17 else saying it. I had no reason ever to talk about it

18 again.

19 Q. But as far as you were concerned, that was a very

20 limited encounter with Mrs Nelson and it didn't really

21 change your views of her one way or the other. Is that

22 what you are telling us?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Now, we have touched on the intelligence cell briefings

25 that you received before you went out, and pictures on

 

 

109

 

1 the wall. I would like to just ask you: as far as

2 terrorists and terrorist suspects are concerned, and

3 those who were perhaps not quite in that category but

4 were associated with them, are concerned, how did you

5 divide the line, how did you put the line down the

6 middle between those two categories of people?

7 A. Well, to me, the terrorists were convicted suspects who

8 had been arrested or suspected of terrorist crimes, and

9 the associates were maybe people that had been found to

10 drive known terrorists about, bring them places, stuff

11 like that.

12 Q. Okay. So we have got on the one hand convictions and

13 then we have got those who perhaps, if there had been

14 enough evidence, might have been convicted; yes?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. As the two groups. How about those who were associated

17 with either of those two groups, for example, their

18 lawyers? What was your opinion of them?

19 A. Sorry, can you say it again?

20 Q. Certainly. You have given me the two categories:

21 convicted terrorists and suspects. I'm offering you

22 a third category: lawyers acting either for convicted

23 terrorists or suspects. How did your view of them

24 manifest itself?

25 A. I never really had a view of them. I don't know.

 

 

110

 

1 Q. Take a moment. It is perhaps my fault for not being

2 clear. I will be a little blunter. Did you put lawyers

3 acting for those categories of people into the same

4 pile?

5 A. Oh, no.

6 Q. Why not?

7 A. Well, because the people that I'm talking about are

8 people that were told to us about in briefings, and

9 lawyers and solicitors weren't part of the associates

10 that we were told about.

11 Q. Well, let's just deal with that point. Were you briefed

12 about, in whatever category, people who happened to be

13 lawyers?

14 A. No.

15 Q. So whether they were convicted terrorists, which is

16 unlikely, suspects or not, you say that you were never

17 briefed about known lawyers?

18 A. No.

19 Q. What generally was your opinion or view of lawyers

20 acting for suspects or convicted terrorists?

21 A. (Pause) Just that they were no better than them.

22 Q. Because if we look at paragraph 17 on page RNI-840-234

23 (displayed) -- please don't think I'm being critical of

24 you, I'm just asking you for your views that you've

25 expressed in your statement -- you say this:

 

 

111

 

1 "I have been asked about what my view was of

2 Rosemary Nelson. She might not have been an IRA member,

3 like others were, who went out and killed, but she was

4 their legal representative and she got them off for

5 killing a friend of mine. He was shot outside Moy Park

6 in Portadown and the evidence was that Colin Duffy and

7 [blank] were responsible. However, Rosemary Nelson got

8 them off the charges as she found out that one of the

9 people giving evidence was associated with a member of

10 the UVF."

11 Now, you have just said, I think, that she was no

12 better, or lawyers were no better than the people they

13 acted for. And looking at a phrase in that there that

14 you repeat, you say "got them off"; I think twice you

15 say that. Now, can I just ask you, is there not

16 a counter-argument that a lawyer acting for someone

17 charged with a crime is simply doing their job?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Do you accept that?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And that a lawyer may have a choice to some degree, but

22 may decide, in order to be a fair and just

23 representative of their profession, that they will not

24 judge people, but will take on cases as they come to

25 that lawyer's door?

 

 

112

 

1 A. Hm-mm.

2 Q. Do you understand what I'm saying?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. So bearing many mind what you have said already, are you

5 saying to us that in your opinion Rosemary Nelson would

6 have been better advised and far better off refusing to

7 represent these terrorists, who were presumably beneath

8 contempt as far as you were concerned?

9 A. I don't know.

10 Q. But you told us that she was no better than them; yes?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And I've just asked you whether you accept that there is

13 a counter-argument that she was perhaps just doing her

14 job?

15 A. I accept that, yes.

16 Q. But if you accept that argument, that she was just doing

17 her job, why is it that you say she was no better than

18 them?

19 A. (Pause) I don't know.

20 Q. That's a fair answer.

21 A. The counter-argument is for you. I accept that there

22 might be a counter-argument, but I still think --

23 believe what I think.

24 Q. Indeed. I'm not seeking to be argumentative or

25 critical. You have your views and, as I have already

 

 

113

 

1 said, you are baring some intimate thoughts to us today

2 for which we are very grateful. But what I'm just

3 seeking to explore is what your views were because, to

4 use another example, what about a doctor that happened

5 to treat by and large, for whatever reason, convicted

6 terrorists or terrorist suspects because he happened,

7 for example -- I don't know -- to have a wonderful

8 result in saving the life of an IRA man who had been

9 shot and wounded, for example? Would you say that that

10 doctor was no better than the terrorist?

11 A. But that's completely different.

12 Q. Why is it?

13 A. Because the terrorists don't go to the same doctor all

14 the time to heal their wounds.

15 Q. But what happened if that doctor treated this terrorist

16 suspect because he turned up at his door or his hospital

17 or his surgery, and thereafter every time that terrorist

18 suspect was ill, he went to see that doctor? Is that

19 not similar?

20 A. I don't think so, no.

21 MR SAVILL: No. Now --

22 THE CHAIRMAN: The question I would like to ask you is: you

23 said you were told by a policeman that Rosemary Nelson

24 "got it from a petrol bomb when she was a teenager".

25 Was that policeman a uniformed officer, a member of the

 

 

114

 

1 CID or what?

2 A. In uniform.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Was he somebody you personally knew or

4 somebody, a policeman you came across when you were out

5 on patrol?

6 A. He was a constable that was attached to my section while

7 we worked in Lurgan, the Lurgan area.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

9 MR SAVILL: Just exploring this a little further, if

10 I may -- and I'm sorry if it is difficult for you to

11 either understand what I'm driving at or to express your

12 thoughts, but bear with me -- the bottom line was, I

13 think, that you took the view -- and, I suspect,

14 maintain this view -- that solicitors acting for both

15 sides were the enemy?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Is that right?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. This was -- let's make no bones about it -- a war and

20 there were, as in any war, different sides?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And you were either on one or on the other?

23 A. Or on neither.

24 Q. Or on neither?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

115

 

1 THE CHAIRMAN: You said that Rosemary Nelson acted in a case

2 where a friend of yours was killed. Would you mind

3 writing on this piece of paper the name of that friend

4 for me? (Handed)

5 Thank you.

6 And when you have written the name, would you please

7 fold it up. Thank you very much indeed. (Handed)

8 Thank you.

9 A. Can I just say --

10 MR SAVILL: Just bear with us just one moment.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. Thank you.

12 MR SAVILL: Did you want to say something about the note?

13 A. No, just what we were ...

14 THE CHAIRMAN: We do know the details about that murder.

15 Was he a family friend --

16 A. A family friend.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, thank you. I would have thought we

18 could move on to a slightly different topic now.

19 MR SAVILL: I'm not going to just at the moment, sir.

20 THE CHAIRMAN: Right.

21 MR SAVILL: You have described them as an enemy and if we

22 look at paragraph 18, RNI-840-234 (displayed):

23 "By acting for IRA members ..."

24 The last sentence:

25 "... Mrs Nelson made herself part of the war and she

 

 

116

 

1 unfortunately paid the price for this."

2 Do you see that?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And that's your view today?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Now, you have told me already that you were not briefed

7 about solicitors, but if we look at paragraph 19, we can

8 see that:

9 "We were not taught about Mrs Nelson, but we were

10 told about her in the same way that we would have been

11 told about solicitors for the UVF as well."

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Now, it may be my misunderstanding, but I thought you

14 had said that you weren't briefed about or told about

15 solicitors?

16 A. No, not in the same way as the suspects or the

17 terrorists. If they had have been involved in a case

18 with either side of terrorists, then their name probably

19 would have been mentioned while talking about whoever

20 was being tried for the crime.

21 Q. So let me perhaps help you by saying in what

22 circumstances were you briefed about solicitors and

23 lawyers?

24 A. Not briefed, just told that they were acting for these

25 people.

 

 

117

 

1 Q. But who told you?

2 A. Our ops room briefs before we left.

3 Q. So it was in similar circumstances to all your other

4 briefings, before you went out on patrol?

5 A. No, no, int cell briefings are different than ops rooms

6 briefings.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Intelligence cell briefings, is that right?

8 A. Yes, ops rooms briefings are done by your company.

9 Intelligence cell briefings ones are done by

10 intelligence officers.

11 MR SAVILL: Which one was this?

12 A. It would have been just a briefing before we left our

13 company line.

14 Q. So ops, not intelligence?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. What was the spirit of that information being passed on?

17 What was the purpose of it? Can you tell me that?

18 A. Just -- only one that I can remember is one duty that I

19 was doing was the day of -- the day of Colin Duffy being

20 released from gaol for that -- that day before I went on

21 duty was -- we were told about him being released from

22 gaol and that he would most likely be being brought back

23 to Lurgan by his wife and Rosemary Nelson.

24 Q. I see.

25 A. Not saying Rosemary -- just mentioned in that same

 

 

118

 

1 conversation.

2 Q. You see, what I'm driving at is what was the purpose --

3 you know, someone may say to you, "So what, why mention

4 somebody's solicitor?" But what I think you are saying

5 is that it was in order to keep track of movements and

6 associations. Is that fair?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. So, as you say, she might be driving him in a car?

9 A. Yes, quite often.

10 Q. And was there any comment made about Rosemary Nelson or,

11 indeed, any other solicitor about their contact and

12 representation of terrorists or suspects?

13 A. Not that I know of.

14 Q. Any unpleasant comments or jokey comments?

15 A. No.

16 Q. How did you view her role in acting for people like

17 Colin Duffy?

18 A. Well, my view of -- my view of that, she got that person

19 off for that murder, comes from because of that person

20 being involved with the UVF. And at that time I don't

21 think it would have been very hard to go into anybody's

22 family and find that they were in some way associated

23 with a paramilitary or somebody that had something to do

24 with them troubles. But, therefore, his evidence was

25 not followed even --

 

 

119

 

1 Q. So what are saying is he got a very lucky break,

2 courtesy of Rosemary Nelson?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Is that fair?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. But I think I'm right in saying, I hope, that you

7 perhaps go a little bit further than that really because

8 if we can look at paragraph 19 of your statement,

9 RNI-840-235 (displayed), the previous paragraph you

10 talked about Rosemary Nelson and you go on to say:

11 "It is often people who you don't think are doing

12 things that are actually getting away with it, and to my

13 mind this could have applied to solicitors."

14 A. It could, yes.

15 Q. Can you just explain that to us, please?

16 A. Well, I don't believe that it would be completely

17 unheard of for a solicitor to break the law, like

18 everybody else.

19 Q. And what was your particular view in relation to

20 Rosemary Nelson? She was in that category, was she?

21 A. No, because she hadn't -- never broken any laws.

22 Q. But what you are saying is nobody was above suspicion?

23 A. No.

24 Q. Is that fair?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

120

 

1 Q. I should just say to you at this point, if I may, that

2 I presume that you weren't the lone voice in the

3 wilderness holding these views in the RIR at the time.

4 There were others?

5 A. I can't speak for the other people.

6 Q. You may not be able to speak for them, but you can tell

7 me whether you heard them express views similar to

8 yours?

9 A. No.

10 Q. You didn't?

11 A. No.

12 Q. Never?

13 A. No.

14 Q. You were the only person --

15 A. I never expressed my views to people. They were my

16 views.

17 Q. So your views about solicitors representing terrorists

18 were never discussed in the canteen, in the back of

19 a Land Rover, in the pub?

20 A. No.

21 Q. No one ever expressed those views to you?

22 A. No.

23 Q. Because we have heard evidence in this Inquiry from many

24 people, including senior Special Branch officers, who

25 have expressed the view that Mrs Nelson may have, to use

 

 

121

 

1 an expression, crossed the line and may have associated

2 herself with terrorists in an improper way.

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Did you ever hear anything about that?

5 A. Not until I read the transcripts of this on the

6 Internet.

7 MR SAVILL: I'm trying to assist you, that this is not, as

8 it were, breaking news. People have told the Inquiry of

9 their views previously, that you are maintaining that

10 you never --

11 THE CHAIRMAN: He said he has read the transcripts. Yes?

12 MR SAVILL: You are saying that you never discussed your

13 views and no one discussed them with you?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Now, you did stop Mrs Nelson once, I think. Yes?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And she wasn't very cooperative?

18 A. No.

19 Q. But other than that, there was no other contact directly

20 between you and her. Is that fair?

21 A. No, it was the police that had to deal with the rest of

22 the stop.

23 Q. And we have touched on her association with Mr Duffy,

24 and in your statement at paragraph 23, RNI-840-236

25 (displayed), you say that in your opinion

 

 

122

 

1 Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy were friends?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. What forms that opinion?

4 A. What forms it?

5 Q. Yes.

6 A. For the amount of times that I seen them together and

7 driving about in a car. To me, that was more than was

8 required for a solicitor and her client to be together.

9 Q. Did you consider that there may have been something more

10 to them being together than a friendship?

11 A. On two occasions where I seen them in the car would have

12 been places where people would have been known to go to

13 for other than things in friendship, like.

14 Q. Yes, I understand. And presumably you weren't on your

15 own when you saw them there?

16 A. No.

17 Q. So was her association with Mr Duffy a topic of

18 conversation, as far as you were aware, within the RUC

19 and the RIR?

20 A. Sorry, was what?

21 Q. Her association with Mr Duffy, whatever it may have

22 been, was that a subject of discussion within the RUC

23 and the RIR?

24 A. On occasions where we would have seen them together or

25 stopped them in a car, it would have been discussed

 

 

123

 

1 there why the two of them were together, or if it was at

2 a time of -- night time and they were together, then it

3 would have been a discussion why they were together so

4 late but.

5 Q. What I'm putting to you, bluntly, is there was gossip,

6 wasn't there, within the RUC and the RIR, as to the

7 relationship between the two of them?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Is that fair?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And did you form the view that as a result of that

12 discussion, people's views towards Mrs Nelson hardened?

13 Your colleagues?

14 A. Sorry, what is it again?

15 Q. As a result of this discussion of their relationship,

16 can you tell us whether or not the views of members of

17 the Army or the RUC hardened towards her?

18 A. Not that I can say, no.

19 Q. You know, people were saying that they were having

20 a relationship, and as a result she's obviously crossed

21 the line?

22 A. Not that I can say, no, no.

23 Q. No.

24 A. I didn't see that myself because her -- I didn't see

25 that myself.

 

 

124

 

1 Q. But did others?

2 A. I don't know.

3 MR SAVILL: You don't know. Sir, I wonder if this would be

4 an appropriate moment for a short break?

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, we will have a break until quarter past

6 three.

7 Before the witness leaves, Mr (name redacted), would you

8 please confirm that all the cameras have been

9 switched off?

10 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much.

12 Please escort the witness out.

13 We will have a quarter of an hour break.

14 (3.00 pm)

15 (Short break)

16 (3.20 pm)

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Currans, the checklist. Is the public

18 area screen fully in place, locked and the key secured?

19 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

20 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the fire doors on either side of the

21 screen closed?

22 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

24 and securely fastened?

25 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

 

 

125

 

1 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

2 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

3 of this chamber?

4 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr (name redacted), can you please confirm that the

6 two witness cameras have been switched off and shrouded?

7 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: All the other cameras have been switched off?

9 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

11 Bring the witness in, please.

12 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

13 and the Full Participants' legal representatives may now

14 be switched back on.

15 Yes, Mr Savill?

16 MR SAVILL: Just to continue with one or two matters to tidy

17 up that have been raised with me over the break, you

18 mentioned that you, on more than one occasion, I think,

19 saw Mr Duffy and Mrs Nelson in compromising situations,

20 or locations, if you like.

21 A. Locations, yes. Not compromising, but --

22 Q. I'm sorry, I couldn't remember precisely what you said.

23 It was laziness on my part. We recall what you said.

24 Can I just ask you, there is no mention of that in

25 your witness statement to the Inquiry. Is there

 

 

126

 

1 a reason for that?

2 A. No.

3 Q. Do you consider it important or relevant, particularly?

4 A. Well, you asked me the question did I feel that -- so,

5 yes, you asked me the question so I --

6 Q. I did.

7 A. -- answered the question.

8 Q. You have also told us that you looked at transcripts on

9 the Internet?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. That hasn't in any way influenced what you have said to

12 us about that, has it?

13 A. No.

14 Q. This is from your own personal recollection?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And also you have expressed views about solicitors

17 acting for terrorists. Did Mrs Nelson ever give you any

18 occasion to understand what her views were of you

19 working in the Army?

20 A. No.

21 Q. And moving on now, you did have occasion, I think, to

22 stop Mr Duffy and Mrs Nelson, and if we can call up

23 RNI-840-237, please (displayed). Can we just highlight

24 that, please? I'm sorry, paragraph 25, forgive me:

25 "I do recall one instance with Rosemary Nelson and

 

 

127

 

1 Colin Duffy when we stopped them together in the same

2 car. Since I was experienced at doing searches I tried

3 to get people through quickly in around 20 minutes. It

4 was someone less experienced carrying out the search on

5 this occasion and Mrs Nelson and Mr Duffy were kept

6 there a long time at the side of the road for their

7 information to be written down. I think the whole

8 incident took around 1 hour and 15 minutes before they

9 were let go and certainly for around 40 minutes they

10 were just left sitting in the car. I think they might

11 have been right to bring a complaint on this occasion."

12 I think that's you saying that you didn't always get

13 it right?

14 A. I didn't do it.

15 Q. No, the Army, I'm sorry.

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. It wasn't always done as efficiently or as properly as

18 it was done?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. On this occasion, you were involved in this stop and

21 search?

22 A. I done the stop.

23 Q. Yes, but you were involved in this incident, if

24 you like?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

128

 

1 Q. Albeit, I think you are saying, it wasn't your fault?

2 A. No.

3 Q. But they were right to complain and you were happy, as

4 it were, if you will forgive the expression, to take

5 that one on the chin?

6 A. The complaint wasn't made against me. I continued to do

7 the stopping.

8 MR SAVILL: I understand that.

9 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Can I just refer to the previous

10 elements earlier this afternoon, where you said it was

11 your job to stop, but the RUC's job to actually

12 undertake the check. Was it --

13 A. I don't think I said that.

14 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: No, you didn't. Right, okay. That's

15 my poor recollection then. Was that then completely an

16 Army check, was it?

17 A. Yes.

18 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: All Army personnel?

19 A. Yes.

20 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay, I'm sorry.

21 A. I think, if I recall, it was on the Newry road in

22 Banbridge. I'm not sure.

23 MR SAVILL: Perhaps I can assist the Panel here. When you

24 conducted stops and searches -- "you" meaning the Army,

25 the RIR, of course -- did you always conduct them on

 

 

129

 

1 your own or were the RUC sometimes present?

2 A. Not always on our own. I think, when we were detailed

3 to work in Lurgan area, we always had to have an RUC

4 officer attached to our section, and if there was an RUC

5 officer in the Land Rover, he was the person that done

6 the stopping.

7 MR SAVILL: I see. Does that help the Panel?

8 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: I think it was my poor recollection,

9 thank you.

10 MR SAVILL: Okay.

11 Now, as far as you are concerned, you learned of

12 Rosemary Nelson's death at some stage?

13 A. Six o'clock.

14 Q. Yes?

15 A. On the radio in my car.

16 Q. Just tell us, please, bearing in mind what you told us,

17 in the context of being a solicitor who had acted for

18 suspects or convicted terrorists, what was, and is, your

19 reaction today to the news of her murder?

20 A. Just the same as what I said in my statement.

21 Q. Well, that's helpful. Let's have a look at it. That's

22 what it is there for. RNI-840-238 (displayed). Bottom

23 paragraph, please, 31, highlighted:

24 "I have been asked what my reaction was to the news

25 of the murder. I don't think I was sad, but I wasn't

 

 

130

 

1 happy either. I felt that it was just another one of

2 our enemies who had been taken out of the picture. It

3 perhaps sounds wrong to say this, but that was how

4 I felt."

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. As I have said a number of times already, I applaud your

7 frankness, but you felt then and now that she fell first

8 of all into the category of enemy, not personally

9 because of who she was, but because she was a solicitor

10 acting for one side?

11 A. (Witness nods)

12 Q. Yes?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. You were sad that a human being had lost their life

15 presumably?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. But as far as you were and are concerned, there was

18 a bigger picture?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And if I can put it in this way, would you have been of

21 the view that her death would have been a step closer to

22 victory for your side?

23 A. No, not at all.

24 Q. What is the effect of the enemy losing one of its

25 members? Isn't it the same thing?

 

 

131

 

1 A. In my view, she wouldn't have been doing -- undoing all

2 the work that was carried out by the soldiers and the

3 police by getting these people convicted and then later

4 on getting let off on appeal because of some

5 technicality.

6 Q. That's what I'm saying. Isn't that the same as saying

7 her death meant that your cause, your side, was

8 strengthened because there was one less troublemaker or

9 nuisance causer out of the way?

10 A. If you like, yes.

11 Q. Forgive me, it is not what I like, but is that fair?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Yes. And if we can just go over the page to RNI 840-239

14 (displayed), to be fair to you, you go on to say:

15 "It is not a sectarian thing at all and it is not

16 because Mrs Nelson was a Catholic. If someone from the

17 UVF had been taken out instead, then that would still

18 have been one less person for us to worry about."

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And lower in that paragraph, a biblical quotation. You

21 were of the view that it was an eye for an eye and

22 a tooth for a tooth. What do you mean by that?

23 A. She made her choices.

24 Q. Did she, though, make her choices in reality?

25 A. I think so.

 

 

132

 

1 Q. What about the argument we touched on earlier that she

2 was being a professional?

3 A. I don't know.

4 Q. She brought it on her own head?

5 A. I think so, yes.

6 Q. You say "I think so". Let me ask you this: presumably

7 there was discussion amongst your colleagues following

8 her death?

9 A. Possibly. Not that any of it sticks in my mind or I can

10 remember being said or talked about. I think I said it

11 is a long time ago.

12 Q. Because you have told us that you didn't recollect any

13 discussion about her while she was alive, and if we

14 could just highlight paragraph 32:

15 "I have been asked what the reaction was in the

16 barracks. I think that most people felt the same way as

17 me, although I cannot speak for all of the barracks."

18 Now, I don't want to be too technical, looking at

19 that second sentence, but you have offered what you

20 think there, which must be based on what you

21 experienced. You seem to be saying you can't speak for

22 every individual member of the barracks, but the

23 majority shared your views?

24 A. No, it was my assumption, and when I read back over my

25 statement, I felt it was wrong to make that assumption

 

 

133

 

1 because I don't know what the general feeling was. It

2 was just my feeling, my thoughts. I assumed wrongly

3 that it was generally the same, but like I say, I can't

4 speak for the people themselves.

5 Q. Is that sentence not actually, to be blunt, exactly what

6 you thought based on your experience of life in the

7 barracks?

8 A. No.

9 Q. It is not?

10 A. No.

11 Q. So that sentence is actually an error, it is wrong?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. It is based on a presumption without any basis?

14 A. An assumption from me without any basis, yes.

15 Q. If we discount that sentence, what were the views of

16 those people you spoke to about her death in the

17 barracks?

18 A. I don't know. I can't specifically remember any

19 conversations that I had with any of my colleagues to do

20 with her murder or death.

21 Q. None at all?

22 A. No.

23 Q. But you say that she paid the price?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. For making herself part of the war?

 

 

134

 

1 A. That's what I feel, yes.

2 Q. When you heard of her death, did you, as it were, react

3 in the same way that you would have done had a convicted

4 or suspected terrorist been killed?

5 A. No, not exactly.

6 Q. What was the difference then?

7 A. Well, if it had have been a convicted terrorist or

8 a suspected terrorist, it wouldn't have made any

9 difference to me. I would have said good riddance,

10 happy days. Whereas Rosemary Nelson was a person and

11 a solicitor and whatever at the end of the day, which

12 sort of, to me, made it different than just someone who

13 had been convicted of, say, a murder of a soldier or

14 a policeman.

15 Q. I'm sorry to keep asking you about this, but as far as

16 conversation about her while she was alive or after she

17 was dead is concerned, are you aware of comments within

18 the Royal Ulster Constabulary, or a mindset, as it were,

19 that may have prevailed regarding Rosemary Nelson?

20 A. Not really, no. Like I say in my statement, there is

21 only one occasion that I can remember that I remember

22 a policeman saying something that I thought was wrong,

23 where it was -- he asked me did I know what had happened

24 to her face and I said no. And he said instead of

25 dunking for apples in a bucket of water, she done it in

 

 

135

 

1 a chip pan. And as I say in my statement, that's the

2 only time I can remember anything being said by anybody.

3 That stuck in my head.

4 Q. Apart from the police officer that told you she'd

5 sustained injuries to her face by throwing a petrol

6 bomb?

7 A. At that time, I had no reason to doubt what he told me.

8 That wasn't -- that wasn't a derogatory comment at that

9 time to me. To me, that was fact.

10 Q. And again, to be fair to you, we have got two comments

11 by the RUC over how many years of your interaction with

12 them?

13 A. Five.

14 Q. You would say, would you, that they were drops in the

15 ocean?

16 A. Yes. Well, the first one with the -- being burnt with

17 the petrol bomb, as I say, on that day that was my first

18 duty as an RIR soldier. So that was the very first day

19 that I joined, and not to put a date or a year or

20 anything on it, but it was a good long time after that

21 that a -- a uniformed policeman had said this to me in

22 the back of a Land Rover.

23 Q. My fault, not a very good question. What I'm asking you

24 is they were not, those comments, evidence of a broader,

25 more prevalent, widespread attitude to her?

 

 

136

 

1 A. Not that I think, no.

2 Q. What about your regiment, about the Army? Were there

3 comments about her by your colleagues?

4 A. No, not that I can remember, no.

5 Q. Because in your statement, at paragraph 35, RNI-840-240

6 (displayed), you say that all you can remember --

7 paragraph 35:

8 "All I can remember the Army saying is things like

9 there is Rosie Nelson."

10 Do you see that?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. But you go on to say:

13 "Everyone wanted to stop her and we used to look out

14 for her."

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Can you just explain that a little bit, please?

17 A. When I said that, it was more that -- not that she was

18 so much of interest to us, but her passengers that maybe

19 was in the car or people -- other people that she had in

20 the car. It was more the associates, the people, the

21 friends that she kept that we were interested in, not

22 Rosie Nelson.

23 It was just that we had happened to maybe see her

24 car. It would be that we would want to get that car

25 stopped to see if there was anyone in that car of

 

 

137

 

1 interest to us.

2 Q. Now, I have asked you to explain that sentence. You

3 have given the explanation, but that's not what the

4 sentence says, is it?

5 A. It is not, no.

6 Q. You go on to say:

7 "I don't remember any stupid comments being made,

8 though. I can't remember anyone slagging Mrs Nelson

9 off, but I'm probably less likely to remember this if

10 the comments were coming from the Army."

11 Why is that?

12 A. I don't know.

13 Q. Let's read on:

14 "I remember the comments being made by the police as

15 I was surprised by these, as the police were meant to be

16 figures who can be looked up to. This is not to say

17 that soldiers were not looked up to, but I am not sure

18 that they were in the same way in which the police

19 were."

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. So trying to draw this to a conclusion, as far as the

22 Royal Irish Regiment is concerned, were you aware of

23 fellow members who were prejudiced against Mrs Nelson in

24 any way?

25 A. No.

 

 

138

 

1 Q. Who carried out their jobs in a high handed or

2 prejudicial way?

3 A. I never encountered anyone that went above what they

4 were meant to do as their job or what they were taught

5 to do with anyone.

6 Q. Could I just ask that RNI-401-614 is called on to the

7 screen, please (displayed)?

8 Now, we can all just take a moment to look at that.

9 That's a print from the Internet of BBC News with

10 a picture of Mrs Nelson and a headline:

11 "Ex-soldier gaoled after arms find."

12 I'm not going to read it out, the second paragraph,

13 where the name is written, but it says:

14 "A former Royal Irish Regiment soldier who had links

15 with the right-wing extremist group Combat 18, has been

16 jailed for nine years for storing loyalist arms."

17 Then mentions a name; yes?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Did you know that man?

20 A. No.

21 Q. You didn't?

22 A. No.

23 Q. So you wouldn't have been aware of any of his activities

24 or views?

25 A. No, I never even heard of this incident until today,

 

 

139

 

1 until I was given that printout.

2 Q. Do you say today that some of the views you have

3 expressed about Mrs Nelson, her death, her activities as

4 a solicitor, your view of them, do you take the view

5 that perhaps those might be seen by some as being

6 unfair?

7 A. Possibly, yes, possibly.

8 Q. Moving to a completely different subject and an isolated

9 incident, which, if I mention a plate glass window, I

10 think you will know what I'm talking about?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. I would like to explore that with you, but before I do,

13 let me just ask you this: you have expressed firm,

14 unsympathetic views about Rosemary Nelson. Is that

15 a fair way of summarising it?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And on the occasion of 29 October 1997, the date of this

18 incident, there was allegedly quite a lot of abuse

19 levelled at Mrs Nelson?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Doesn't that behaviour -- and we will describe it in

22 a bit more detail in a moment -- equate itself perhaps

23 with the views that you have expressed about her?

24 A. Sorry, I don't know what equate means.

25 Q. It is the same. What I'm saying is: isn't it likely

 

 

140

 

1 that you, having expressed these views about Mrs Nelson,

2 might well have been the person who was abusive and

3 threatening to her on that day?

4 A. I have no idea. I have no recollection of that

5 incident.

6 Q. Let's look at the incident now in detail very quickly,

7 if we can. We have heard evidence from the cipher,

8 C150; yes?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. That on that day you had been involved in this incident

11 in the street and Mrs Nelson came down on to the street.

12 She went past C150, said to you:

13 "I heard you threaten ..."

14 And before she could finish her sentence -- I think

15 she was going to say:

16 "I heard you threaten C150."

17 You said:

18 "I'll do the fucking same to you."

19 A. Well, sorry, whenever I read them statements, it was

20 C150 that I said this to.

21 Q. You said:

22 "I would do the fucking same to you", to C150?

23 A. Yes, apparently.

24 Q. She said:

25 "I heard you threaten him."

 

 

141

 

1 And then in a whisper, up to her face, you said:

2 "You know what we have got in store for you."

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. I understand you completely deny saying those things?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. What I was attempting to ask you earlier was would you

7 not agree with me that it would not perhaps be

8 surprising to hear someone express those views to

9 Mrs Nelson on that day who shared the views of her and

10 her activities that you told us about today?

11 A. It depends how professional that person is about their

12 job.

13 Q. Indeed. Go on.

14 A. That's it.

15 Q. So you would say that you were a true professional?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. You may have held these views?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. But these views were your views?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. They were private views. You have already told us you

22 didn't share them with anybody else?

23 A. No.

24 Q. So, therefore, you are able, I think is what you are

25 telling us, to detach the two?

 

 

142

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. To separate them?

3 A. Yes. In the whole five years of service that I served,

4 I can definitely say that I never threatened anyone or

5 any person or any member of the public.

6 MR SAVILL: No. Thank you very much for what has --

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Are you going to deal with paragraph 34?

8 MR SAVILL: If you are referring to the penultimate line --

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

10 MR SAVILL: -- I rather think I have dealt with that.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Well, what I want to know is a little more

12 about who, what sort of person it was, that sort of

13 thing.

14 MR SAVILL: Certainly. Just rewinding, this is the dunking

15 in the chip pan incident.

16 Can you assist the Panel, please, and me, by

17 recollecting more detail? It was an officer in the back

18 of your Land Rover who said it; yes?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And you say:

21 "It was not long after I had been told what had

22 happened to Mrs Nelson's face."

23 A. No, it was quite a while, I think, after --

24 Q. Let's call the paragraph up. RNI-840-240, please

25 (displayed)?

 

 

143

 

1 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: When you say "uniformed officer", a

2 uniformed constable, was it?

3 A. Yes.

4 MR SAVILL: Let's just, as it were, start from the

5 beginning. It is my fault:

6 "I have been asked whether I have ever heard any

7 members of the RUC making derogatory comments about

8 Rosemary Nelson. I think that I can recall comments

9 being made on no more than a couple of occasion by the

10 RUC, but I cannot be sure exactly who said them or when.

11 "I remember the comments being made though as

12 I remember thinking that a policeman should not be

13 saying things like that. I think a number of the

14 comments were made at police stations by constables.

15 The one incident that does stand out in my mind was

16 something that was said by an officer in the back of our

17 Land Rover not long after I had been told what had

18 happened to Mrs Nelson's face. The officer said that

19 she'd been dunking apples in a chip pan rather than a

20 bucket. I cannot be sure who this officer was, but the

21 name [redacted] comes to mind."

22 And you have got the cipher list in front of you?

23 A. Yes.

24 THE CHAIRMAN: When you say "the name [redacted] comes to

25 mind", is it the surname that comes to mind?

 

 

144

 

1 A. Surname.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: The surname?

3 A. Yes.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. And it was a uniformed constable?

5 A. Yes.

6 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: What year was that, roughly?

7 A. I have no idea.

8 MR SAVILL: My recollection of your evidence, if I can try

9 and help, is that I think you sought to distinguish, in

10 time at least, the comment about the petrol bomb and

11 this comment. But in your statement -- I'm sorry, I

12 can't find it now. Yes:

13 "In the back of our Land Rover, not long after I had

14 been told what happened to Mrs Nelson's face."

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. So which is it, can you recall?

17 A. I think I recall now the fact that this was said was

18 because of the conversation that I had with the police

19 officer about -- complaint that was made against me

20 insulting Mrs Nelson on that night. So probably not

21 long after this policeman had told me about the petrol

22 bomb.

23 Q. Right. Well, that has certainly confused me. We have

24 got the incident on the stairwell at Lurgan police

25 station, which was your first visit to the police

 

 

145

 

1 station?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. So that was in roughly, what, 1995/1996?

4 A. 1995, yes.

5 Q. 1995?

6 A. That would have been November 1995.

7 Q. So November 1995, that was the stairwell?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. When you say Mrs Nelson made a complaint?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. You are saying that you discussed that complaint with

12 this police officer?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. So you are suggesting that because you were mentioning

15 Mrs Nelson in that context, that's why he, rather than

16 just out of the blue, made this comment about dunking

17 apples in a chip pan?

18 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: But that conversation, you said took

19 place in Lurgan police station?

20 A. No, the back of a Land Rover.

21 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: I think it was the CID officer that

22 spoke to you about --

23 A. He was the one that said that the petrol bomb damaged

24 her face in the interview after I was brought in for

25 insulting her.

 

 

146

 

1 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Now I'm confused.

2 MR SAVILL: I hope it is a lot simpler than it sounds.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: When you passed Mrs Nelson on the stairs,

4 immediately after that you either went or were taken

5 into the CID room and a CID officer mentioned to you

6 about the petrol bomb?

7 A. Yes.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Some time not very long afterwards, you were

9 in a Land Rover, and in the back of the Land Rover was

10 a uniformed constable?

11 A. That's right.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: And you mentioned, did you, to the uniformed

13 constable the complaint that had been made by

14 Rosemary Nelson about you?

15 A. Yes.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: And that is when the uniformed constable

17 mentioned the business about the apples?

18 A. Yes, that is it.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: Does that clear it up?

20 Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN

21 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Can I ask just one more question

22 about that paragraph before we all get completely

23 confused? You also said in your statement that:

24 "I think a number of the comments were made at

25 police stations by constables."

 

 

147

 

1 Can you just straighten me out on that one, please?

2 A. I'm not sure why I said "a number", but I can only

3 recall the two incidents with two policemen.

4 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Are you saying that those are the

5 two that you can actually recall what the specific

6 comments were or are you saying that only twice --

7 A. That's --

8 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: -- did anybody say anything?

9 A. That's the only two times that anything was said to me.

10 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Okay, thank you.

11 MR SAVILL: Undoing all the good work that has just been

12 done, do you recollect any comments about her using

13 a broomstick?

14 A. No.

15 Q. As far as other occupants of the Land Rover were

16 concerned, were there other soldiers and police officers

17 in there?

18 A. There was -- in my Land Rover there was the driver and

19 the commander in the front of the Land Rover, which had

20 nothing to do with the conversation between me and the

21 RUC officer.

22 Q. Yes. As I tried to say a little while ago -- and it is

23 my fault -- thank you very much for coming. It has been

24 a perhaps lengthier experience than you had hoped, but

25 could I just ask you the final question: Is there

 

 

148

 

1 anything else that you would like to tell us or add to

2 the evidence that you have given so that the Panel have

3 heard everything you want to say today?

4 A. No, nothing.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Well, thank you for coming to give evidence

6 before us.

7 Before the witness leaves, Mr (name redacted), could you,

8 please, confirm that all the cameras have been switched

9 off?

10 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Please escort the witness out.

12 We will adjourn until Monday.

13 (The Inquiry adjourned until Monday, 8 December at 1.00 pm)

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

 

 


 

1 I N D E X

2
MR BRENDAN MCSTRAVICK (sworn) .................... 1
3
Questions by MR SAVILL ....................... 1
4
MRS ELIZABETH MCSTRAVICK (sworn) ................. 21
5
Questions by MR SAVILL ....................... 21
6
MR GERARD MCSTRAVICK (sworn) ..................... 37
7
Questions by MR SAVILL ....................... 37
8
MR MARTIN BYRNE (sworn) .......................... 51
9
Questions by MR SAVILL ....................... 51
10
MS ANN MCALEENAN (sworn) ......................... 68
11
Questions by MR SAVILL ....................... 68
12
A188 (affirmed) .................................. 82
13
Questions by MR SAVILL ....................... 82
14
Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN ........... 146
15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25