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Hearing: 9th May 2008, day 17

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ROSEMARY NELSON

PUBLIC INQUIRY

 

 

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


on Friday, 9th May 2008
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Friday, 9th May 2008

2 (10.15 am)

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips.

4 MRS ITA MCCRORY (sworn)

5 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Do sit down, please.

7 MR PHILLIPS: Mrs McCrory, can you give the Panel your full

8 names, please?

9 A. Ita Mary McCrory.

10 Q. You have made a witness statement in the Inquiry,

11 haven't you?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Do you have a copy of it with you?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. It begins at RNI-813-431 (displayed). Do we see your

16 signature at RNI-813-441 (displayed)?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And the date there of 13th June?

19 A. That is right, yes.

20 Q. I would like to show you also a statement you made to

21 the police. It is at RNI-831-219 (displayed) and you

22 see your name there and the date of 24th March?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Thank you very much.

25 Looking back to your Inquiry statement at

 

 

2

 

1 RNI-813-431 (displayed), you tell us that you joined the

2 practice in 1993?

3 A. Yes, that is right.

4 Q. And you were still working there at the time of

5 Rosemary Nelson's murder?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And you continued until the practice was closed?

8 A. It was starting to wind down when I left, yes.

9 Q. And you were there, therefore, for about seven years?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. You joined the firm as a legal secretary?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And you did typing work?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And you started, I think, in the litigation part of the

16 firm?

17 A. Yes, compensation claims.

18 Q. You were working for Ken McKee?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Right. And then after he left, Mr Leeson, Brian Leeson,

21 and then Mr Vernon?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And you give us an idea in paragraph 2 -- do you see it

24 there on the screen? -- of the other girls you were

25 working in the office at the time?

 

 

3

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. You then tell us about the building itself, and do you

3 remember that when you first started you were all on the

4 first floor?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And there was another business on the ground floor?

7 A. Yes, that is right.

8 Q. Now, other people have suggested to us that that was

9 a hairdresser. Do you think it was a hairdresser or do

10 you think it was a video shop?

11 A. I think it was a video -- it was a video shop at one

12 point. It could have been a hairdressers at some stage

13 as well but I remember a video shop.

14 Q. Right, but eventually you took over both floors of the

15 building?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Right. Now, what would help us first of all is if you

18 could give us an idea of the sort of work the practice

19 was doing when you first started work in 1993?

20 A. There was a lot of conveyancing and matrimonial work and

21 the litigation work was building up quite quickly as

22 well.

23 Q. Was there much criminal work when you first arrived?

24 A. There was a few -- yes, there was, petty sessions

25 mostly. I am thinking of the filing cabinets that

 

 

4

 

1 housed all the files. There was one small filing

2 cabinet for criminal and a lot for all the rest. The

3 criminal work increased.

4 Q. You tell us that in your paragraph 4 at RNI-813-432

5 (displayed). If you could just look at that, because

6 you say there that while you were at the practice in the

7 seven years you have mentioned, it changed a great deal?

8 A. Yes, it did.

9 Q. Before we look at the changes, can I just ask you

10 whether something at least remained the same: was it

11 always a busy practice?

12 A. Yes, very busy, very, very busy.

13 Q. Did it get busier towards the end of your time there or

14 before Rosemary Nelson's death, or was it always busy?

15 A. I think it got busier towards the end, yes.

16 Q. Well, looking then at the changes that you explain for

17 us which took place, you say:

18 "Gradually the practice took on more criminal work,

19 and as it did, my work also shifted to focus more on the

20 criminal files."

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. What I would like to do -- it is obviously a long time

23 ago now -- is to see whether you can help us with some

24 dates, even if they are rough dates.

25 Can you remember, for example, when you started to

 

 

5

 

1 do more on the criminal files?

2 A. I think it was whenever -- it was the Colin Duffy case,

3 first of all. I can't remember what year it would have

4 been. Rosemary had thought that -- I think he was

5 convicted and they were appealing it.

6 Q. Can you look at paragraph 7; that will help you, I

7 think. If you look at the bottom of page RNI-813-433

8 (displayed) -- it will come up on the screen for you --

9 do you see the first case you mention there?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Yes. Then you tell us what happened with that case if

12 you go over the page to RNI-813-434 (displayed). Do you

13 see, we know what happened was that there was an appeal

14 in fact and Mr Duffy was released from prison?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. So was that on the practice's books when you first

17 arrived in 1993, do you think?

18 A. I don't think so.

19 Q. You don't think it was?

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

21 Q. But what you were saying to us earlier is that you think

22 that the change in the criminal work, the time you

23 started to do more criminal work, may have coincided

24 with the Colin Duffy case?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

6

 

1 Q. We know that the appeal produced its result in that case

2 in, I think, September 1996. Does that sound about

3 right?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Thank you. Now, as more work of this kind came in and

6 you started to do more criminal work, it is right, isn't

7 it, that the sort of work you were doing also changed,

8 the sort of things you were doing day-to-day?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And you ceased, didn't you, to be a secretarial employee

11 and a typist; you took a much more active part, didn't

12 you, in the criminal cases?

13 A. Yes. Rosemary had like a list of contacts that she

14 would – ‘specially for her -- to start of with,

15 Colin Duffy's appeal -- that she brought on board to

16 help get justice for a client. And then she would

17 have -- we had a big, big file. We were writing to

18 those people quite a lot, contacting them, faxing them.

19 She also would have sent me out to court a lot, down to

20 the High Court to bail applications or consultations.

21 Q. So I want to come back to each of those in a minute, if

22 I may. So this was new work for you?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And that carried on, did it, until the time of her

25 murder, you doing that sort of work?

 

 

7

 

1 A. I can't remember.

2 Q. Shall we come back and look at each type of work you

3 have just mentioned? If you look again at paragraph 7,

4 this time at the top of RNI-813-434 (displayed) -- it is

5 on the screen for you -- do you see in the second line

6 you start to talk about the contacts you have just

7 mentioned, and you say further down:

8 "She contacted these organisations a great deal and

9 they also put her in touch with various individuals in

10 America."

11 Now, as I understand it, you were often the person

12 who would prepare the letters to these groups and to

13 these individuals?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And contact them sometimes by phone or send them a fax?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And as you say in paragraph 8, you remember typing lots

18 of letters to these organisations?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Now, what you explain to us is that you particularly

21 remember this during this Colin Duffy appeal?

22 A. Yes, that is when it started.

23 Q. Yes. But it carried on, didn't it, in relation to other

24 cases?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

8

 

1 Q. And it became a feature of your work at the practice?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. What was she trying to do by making these contacts?

4 A. Highlight, I think; highlight the miscarriage of justice

5 of her clients.

6 Q. She was obviously, as it were, letting more people know

7 about her clients' cases?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Is it fair to suggest that she was in that sense

10 generating publicity for her clients' cases?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And that was something she was doing quite deliberately?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And that presumably also meant that her clients' cases

15 were attracting more attention?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And there was media interest, wasn't there?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Do you remember her conducting interviews with

20 journalists and others?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Would that have been at the practice?

23 A. I can remember for the Robert Hamill case having to set

24 up a few press conferences. Robert Hamill's sisters and

25 family were going to release a press statement and that.

 

 

9

 

1 I can remember, I think it was after she got some

2 threats, the Dispatches programme coming into the office

3 and filming in the office.

4 Q. She gave interviews on that programme?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. The impression certainly we have had from some of the

7 evidence is that this became a very regular feature of

8 her work, contact with the media?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Is that how you remember it?

11 A. Yes, I did.

12 Q. So there would be journalists in and out of the office,

13 camera crews, interviewers?

14 A. Yes. Not daily, weekly, but they just did.

15 Q. Were you involved also in the contacts she made about

16 her cases with government officials?

17 A. Could you explain?

18 Q. Did you ever write letters for her, for example, raising

19 matters with Irish civil servants?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. You remember that?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. So her clients' cases could be drawn to their attention

24 also?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

10

 

1 Q. Yes. And that was part of the same approach that she

2 was taking, wasn't it?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Thank you. And again, that happened, didn't it, not

5 just for the Colin Duffy appeal but for other cases?

6 A. Hm-mm.

7 Q. Thank you. Now, the other type of work you mentioned

8 was that you began to go to court more with the criminal

9 cases?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Just so I have understood this, you would go down and

12 perhaps sit behind the barrister?

13 A. Yes, that is right.

14 Q. When he was representing the client?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And you would go to Magistrates' Court cases, would you?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And to bail applications?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Would you go to what I would call a Crown Court trial,

21 a trial with a jury?

22 A. A jury? No, I don't think I was at one with a jury. I

23 was at some criminal cases in Craigavon.

24 Q. Would you attend cases in what we call Diplock courts,

25 i.e. where there was just a judge trying serious offences?

 

 

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1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And again, you would be sitting behind the barrister?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. That, as you say in paragraph 4 of your statement,

5 sometimes meant you would be going to court day in, day

6 out for weeks on end?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. So presumably, that meant in turn that whatever typing

9 or secretarial work you had been doing had to be done by

10 somebody else?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Were you the only member of staff who used to do this

13 sort of work on the criminal cases?

14 A. Going out to court?

15 Q. Yes.

16 A. Yes. I think so. Annette might have went. I think

17 Annette might have went to more matrimonial. As far as

18 I recall; it is quite a long time ago.

19 Q. Of course it is. The other thing you mention in your

20 statement that you started to do is to go to the police

21 station?

22 A. Hm-mm.

23 Q. And you say in paragraph 5, if you look at the beginning

24 of that -- it is on the same page, RNI-813-434

25 (displayed) -- that:

 

 

12

 

1 "Mrs Nelson used to ask me and some of the other

2 girls to go to the police station."

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. So, first of all, can you remember which other members

5 of staff she would ask?

6 A. I went to Portadown police station with Mary.

7 Q. With Mary Loughran?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Thank you.

10 A. I think Nuala and Annette and -- Aine didn't like it. I

11 don't know if she went.

12 Q. She didn't like going to the police station?

13 A. No.

14 Q. Do you remember why?

15 A. There was always a feeling of hostility in it

16 towards us.

17 Q. That was something that you experienced?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And you say in your statement you didn't like having

20 to go?

21 A. No.

22 Q. Because, as you explain, there was an atmosphere there?

23 A. Yes, there was.

24 Q. Now, that wasn't an atmosphere personal to you, was it?

25 A. Just because we were from Rosemary Nelson's office.

 

 

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1 Q. So there was something about the fact that you came from

2 that firm --

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. -- you think that created the atmosphere?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. How did that show itself? How did it manifest itself at

7 the police station?

8 A. It is hard to say. It was just a feeling that you got

9 from the police. You know, they weren't, you know, nice

10 or helpful or polite or anything. It was just very cold

11 and -- I don't know. It is hard to say.

12 Q. Were comments made?

13 A. I don't remember any comments being made.

14 Q. But it was just something in the atmosphere?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Yes. Now, just to be clear, the police station you used

17 to attend most often was Lurgan?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. The local one?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. But you tell us in your statement that you also went, I

22 think only once, to the police station at Portadown?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. You just mentioned it, in fact?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

14

 

1 Q. And you remember going with Mary Loughran?

2 A. Mary, yes.

3 Q. And this was in connection with the Robert Hamill case.

4 Is that right?

5 A. I think it was in connection with Robert Hamill, as far

6 as I remember now.

7 Q. And how was the atmosphere there?

8 A. It was a lot worse, an awful lot worse. It was very

9 intimidating. It was in the evening time, I think, and

10 I think it was dark outside, like, and they kept us

11 waiting for quite a long time. I can't remember an

12 awful lot about it. I just remember waiting in the

13 waiting room for a long time and different police

14 officers going into their wee office with, you know,

15 glass. We could see them. They was talking and

16 laughing and looking at us. It was very intimidating.

17 Q. So there was something about the behaviour there that

18 you experienced that was more intimidating, is that

19 right, than what you experienced in Lurgan?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. I am afraid I am going to do what I have already tried

22 to do before with you with other incidents, which is to

23 ask you for a date. Can you put a rough date on this?

24 A. Let me see. Probably 1998.

25 Q. You said it was in connection with the Robert Hamill

 

 

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1 murder?

2 A. I think it was.

3 Q. Do you think it was shortly after the murder, because

4 that would obviously help us to find a date for it?

5 A. Maybe six months after -- four to six months after.

6 Q. Do you think it may have been 1998?

7 A. Possibly.

8 Q. Possibly. Now, so far as Lurgan police station is

9 concerned, that was the one, as you say, you used to go

10 to more often.

11 You say in paragraph 6 that the atmosphere in fact

12 increased, what you detected became more marked over

13 time and, again, what you say there is: once Rosemary

14 started taking on more high profile cases.

15 We were discussing a little earlier that the

16 Colin Duffy appeal had taken place in September 1996.

17 The second Colin Duffy case you also mention in your

18 statement, the arrest took place at the end

19 of June 1997?

20 A. Right.

21 Q. And Mr Duffy was released on those charges in relation

22 to the two policemen at the beginning of October 1997?

23 A. Right.

24 Q. Now, with that by way of help, can you help me with

25 a date when you think this deterioration in the

 

 

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1 atmosphere may have occurred?

2 A. Yes, it was -- it would have been after that, just

3 around that time and shortly after.

4 Q. So by that, do you mean after his release from prison

5 in October 1997?

6 A. I can't really remember.

7 Q. Okay. But what you have said is that you noticed it

8 once Rosemary started taking on more high profile cases.

9 Can I infer from that that you made that connection in

10 your mind at the time?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. So that when you experienced this increase in the

13 atmosphere, you inferred that it was a result of that?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And you say in the next sentence that you think you

16 acted a bit more pushy:

17 "... than I would ordinarily do, because I knew what

18 their attitude was towards me."

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. How did you act a bit more pushy?

21 A. Just probably the way I spoke, you know. I spoke to

22 them or --

23 Q. Do you mean you were a bit more assertive?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. You were showing them that you weren't going to be

 

 

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1 intimidated?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Not going to be bullied?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And when you say at the end of this sentence that you

6 knew what their attitude was "towards me", again, can

7 I just ask you: Do you mean to you personally, or do

8 you mean as a member or representative of the firm?

9 A. As a representative of the firm.

10 Q. Right. You don't think it was a personal --

11 A. Well, I think that probably -- erm ... I think they

12 would have thought -- it may have started as a

13 representative of the firm, but then I got associated,

14 you know, it could have got personal, yes.

15 Q. Presumably you might have had that feeling simply

16 because you were such a regular visitor and that they

17 knew who you were?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And where you came from?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And what you were there to do?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Now, you deal with the Duffy cases in the section of

24 your statement which begins in paragraph 7, and we have

25 looked at that. Then, if you look at RNI-813-434 and

 

 

18

 

1 paragraph 9 (displayed), you deal with the second case,

2 which we have also just touched on.

3 What I would like to ask you about is what you say

4 about the people who came into the office; do you see in

5 the third line? And these are people who gave witness

6 statements, aren't they?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And the question I wanted to ask you is about the next

9 sentence, where you say:

10 "I am not sure whether they just came in voluntarily

11 or because they knew Rosemary needed people to give

12 statements."

13 Did you actually deal with them yourself?

14 A. I can't really remember.

15 Q. What I am trying to find out, you see, is whether this

16 is something that other people told you, other members

17 of staff told you, or whether you were involved, for

18 instance, in taking the statements yourself. Can you

19 remember now?

20 A. I think I could have been but I can't really remember.

21 Q. But there are a good number of them. Is that right?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. 10, 20?

24 A. Maybe about 10.

25 Q. And it sounds as though it wasn't clear to you then

 

 

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1 whether this was an organised group or whether they had

2 just put themselves forward. Is that right?

3 A. I think once the word got out that Colin Duffy was

4 arrested for it, we probably knew from the previous case

5 that Rosemary was acting for him. I don't think it was

6 an organised thing.

7 Q. Look at the paragraph 9 (displayed) again, would you?

8 A little further down, you say:

9 "We put together a lot of alibi evidence and I was

10 involved in preparing the statements with the

11 witnesses."

12 A. Right.

13 Q. So that suggests that certainly when you made this

14 statement you were pretty clear about that?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Does that sound right?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Then you say:

19 "I certainly sent letters to all the people on

20 Rosemary's contact list highlighting this case."

21 Again, to be clear, that is British Irish Rights

22 Watch?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. CAJ?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

20

 

1 Q. The Americans?

2 A. Ed Lynch, yes.

3 Q. Ed Lynch. The people in the Irish Republic?

4 A. Yes, the TDs.

5 Q. The TDs. And so the same approach as had been used in

6 the previous Duffy case was deployed in this one?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Thank you. Now, this led, as we have heard already, to

9 Mr Duffy's release, and as you put it, that meant that

10 Mrs Nelson had had two big successes for him?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And that presumably increased her profile?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. In the town?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. People knew that she was the lawyer who had had these

17 successes?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And you say in paragraph 7, for example, that once she

20 took on the Colin Duffy work, Rosemary Nelson gained

21 a much higher profile. And presumably, when the second

22 case came round and the success of that case became

23 known, that increased still further?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. But as you point out, this was not something which

 

 

21

 

1 gained her universal admiration, was it?

2 A. No.

3 Q. In fact, as you say, it meant that she wasn't liked in

4 certain quarters?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Now, which quarters do you mean?

7 A. By the security (forces), the Army and the police.

8 Q. Can I just ask you: what is that comment based on?

9 A. I can't remember now. At the time it was based on

10 something. It must have been just the -- you know, the

11 feelings that we would have got from going to the police

12 station, the clients that the police stopped, and

13 different things and what was said.

14 Q. You think that the atmosphere you have described to us

15 at the police station and the way it got worse resulted

16 from this dislike?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And was therefore connected to the successes that she

19 had had?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Did you ever hear yourself any police officer or member

22 of the armed forces express that dislike in your

23 hearing?

24 A. No, never -- I don't remember hearing them saying

25 anything.

 

 

22

 

1 Q. So it was something that you picked up, as it were?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Yes. Now, was that something, this dislike, that

4 worried you?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Did it make you concerned about Rosemary Nelson's

7 safety?

8 A. Yes, it did.

9 Q. Was that a concern shared by other people in the firm?

10 A. I think so, yes.

11 Q. Did you discuss it with them?

12 A. Yes, I did.

13 Q. And was it agreed that this was a worrying development?

14 A. For Rosemary, yes.

15 Q. Did you feel that your own safety was put at risk?

16 A. Not really. We knew, because of where the office was

17 located, from the police station they could see us going

18 in and out of the office, but not really. It was more

19 for Rosemary. But we never ever imagined that --

20 because of what had happened to Pat Finucane -- that

21 would ever happen again. We didn't think it would

22 happen again.

23 Q. Because of what had happened before, you didn't believe

24 it could happen again?

25 A. I didn't think it would happen again.

 

 

23

 

1 Q. You deal in your statement with the question of threats,

2 and we will come back to that in a minute, but can I ask

3 you: did you raise these concerns with Rosemary Nelson

4 yourself?

5 A. I vaguely remember speaking to her about them, yes, and

6 she would have just brushed it off.

7 Q. Yes. She made light of it?

8 A. Yes, she did. And I don't know if that was just to put

9 us at ease or what really her views on it were. I think

10 I remember even telling her that she should check her

11 car and stuff and park in different places and that, but

12 she never did.

13 Q. You think you may have said that to her, do you?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. I am afraid I am going to ask you the same question

16 I have asked you before: can you help us with when that

17 might have been?

18 A. That would have been within the year before she died.

19 Q. Was there anything that prompted those comments by you?

20 A. All the threats she was getting.

21 Q. All the threats she was getting?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. So you suggested in particular that she looked under her

24 car and parked in a different place?

25 A. I think that she talked one time of a device you could

 

 

24

 

1 get that would scan your car before you got into it, and

2 I said to her that she should get this.

3 Q. What was her reaction when you mentioned this to her?

4 A. I can't really recall. Just -- she wouldn't have let on

5 to us that she was taking it seriously.

6 Q. What you say in your statement in paragraph 23, for

7 example, is that she didn't seem to take these things

8 too seriously.

9 A. She may have, but she didn't portray to us that she did.

10 Q. She didn't let on?

11 A. No.

12 Q. And if you look at this paragraph, please, at

13 RNI-813-438, paragraph 23 (displayed), you say about

14 four lines from the end of the paragraph:

15 "In any event, I don't think that Rosemary was

16 particularly concerned with security and I am not aware

17 of her having any video cameras or anything like that

18 installed either at home or at the office. She always

19 parked in the same parking spot down William Street and

20 walked the short distance to the office."

21 So she didn't change any of her routines, did she?

22 A. No, she didn't.

23 Q. Certainly the impression you had, I think this is at the

24 time, was that she wasn't particularly concerned with

25 security?

 

 

25

 

1 A. Hm-mm.

2 Q. Can I just ask you this: in relation to the conversation

3 you have just told us about, where you think you

4 discussed checking the car and maybe parking in

5 a different place, and you think this may have happened

6 in the last year, I have to ask you: are you confident

7 in your mind that there was such a conversation?

8 A. I can remember discussing this device that she could get

9 to check your car and I don't know if it was with the

10 girls and face-to-face to Rosemary, but we agreeing that

11 she should get it.

12 Q. So you are not absolutely sure that you raised this

13 point with her?

14 A. I think we did talk about varying her route to work and

15 parking in different places.

16 Q. The reason I ask -- and I know it is very difficult, it

17 is a long time ago -- is that you don't mention this in

18 your statement. Is it something that has occurred to

19 you when you were thinking about coming here?

20 A. No, just now.

21 Q. Right. Is there anything further about that

22 conversation -- whether it was with her or with the

23 other employees -- is there anything further about that

24 that you can remember now sitting there?

25 A. No.

 

 

26

 

1 Q. Can I just leave that question of safety and threats for

2 a moment and go back in time to look at the other high

3 profile case you talk about in your statement? That

4 begins at paragraph 13. If you look at that on

5 RNI-813-436 -- it will come up on the screen

6 (displayed).

7 That is the Garvaghy Road work. Now, it looks to

8 me -- I may be wrong, and please tell me if I am -- that

9 your personal involvement in this work was not as great

10 as it was in the criminal cases?

11 A. That's right.

12 Q. Thank you. But as you say, it took up a great deal of

13 Rosemary Nelson's own time?

14 A. Yes, it did.

15 Q. And it took her, as you say, more and more out of the

16 office, didn't it?

17 A. Yes, definitely.

18 Q. Whatever she was doing on the case, often took place

19 elsewhere?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And presumably that meant that she had less time to do

22 her own cases, her other work?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And that added in turn to the pressure on the other

25 members of staff?

 

 

27

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And it looks from paragraph 13 as though that sense of

3 pressure and busyness got through to the clients as

4 well?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And that is the example you give?

7 A. Yes. Rosemary was also known around the town for being

8 a very good matrimonial lawyer and, you know, a lot of

9 the clients would have wanted to see her themselves.

10 They would not have wanted to be palmed off on to

11 another solicitor.

12 Q. But presumably they often had to be palmed off in that

13 way?

14 A. Yes, they did.

15 Q. So effectively, the files, whichever type of file they

16 were -- matrimonial, conveyancing, criminal -- were

17 being run by other people?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Is it fair to say that in the last year, perhaps year

20 and a half of her life, most of her time was being spent

21 on these other cases, the big cases?

22 A. Garvaghy Road?

23 Q. Yes.

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Now, so far as the Garvaghy Road itself is concerned,

 

 

28

 

1 were you aware that Rosemary Nelson herself had, she

2 said, been manhandled during one of the confrontations

3 on the road?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. You deal with this in paragraph 12 of your statement, at

6 the bottom of RNI-813-435 (displayed), and you give an

7 account of what happened as far as you know it.

8 You weren't present on the road, were you?

9 A. No.

10 Q. And so is it right that what you have set out there is

11 based on what you heard from other people?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Did you hear it from Rosemary Nelson herself?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. She explained to you, did she, what had happened to her?

16 A. Yes, she did.

17 Q. And can you remember for us whether that was close to

18 the day on which it had happened, in time I mean?

19 A. It was within a week anyway.

20 Q. Within a week?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. So when you say there was a lot of manhandling and she

23 said afterwards that her ribs were sore, that is

24 something she said to you, is it?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

29

 

1 Q. Right. Did she mention to you about any other type of

2 injury?

3 A. I can't remember.

4 Q. No. And did she show you any injury?

5 A. I think she did.

6 Q. You think she did?

7 A. Yes, I think she had bruises on her arms and stuff, yes.

8 Q. That is a different type of injury, isn't it, to the one

9 you mention here?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. That is why I am asking you about it. At the time you

12 made the statement, it looks as though what you remember

13 is being told that her ribs were sore?

14 A. Yes, I remember that. I think she had bruises on her

15 arms as well.

16 Q. Right. Are you absolutely confident about that?

17 A. Well, it has come into my mind. I don't know.

18 Q. So this is another example, is it, where, as you sit

19 here, things are coming back?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Is this the first time you have remembered it?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. So it didn't come back into your memory when you were

24 interviewed by the Inquiry solicitors?

25 A. I am not sure.

 

 

30

 

1 Q. You didn't mention it?

2 A. I didn't mention it, no.

3 Q. Okay. What you said in your statement, right at the end

4 of this paragraph, is you can't be sure how she got her

5 injuries. Is that still the case?

6 A. Erm, well, I am pretty sure she got them from the police

7 trying to lift her off -- throwing her off the road.

8 Q. Again, as far as you can remember, is that based on

9 something she told you?

10 A. I think I remember seeing it on the TV. You could see

11 that she was behind police lines on the news.

12 Q. So some of this may be based on what you saw afterwards

13 from the television?

14 A. It could be.

15 Q. Yes.

16 A. A mixture of that and what she told me.

17 Q. It is sometimes difficult to untangle --

18 A. Especially when it is so long ago.

19 Q. Exactly. But you think it may be a combination of what

20 you were told by her and what you saw on the television?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Thank you. Now, just moving forward through time, you

23 tell us that you got married in 1998 and when you came

24 back from your honeymoon -- this is paragraph 15 now --

25 your focus, the focus of your work, was more on the

 

 

31

 

1 civil side. Do you see that?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Rather than the criminal side. Was that a change that

4 you requested?

5 A. No.

6 Q. Was it something that you were simply told to do?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And did that mean, therefore, that you spent less time,

9 for example, going to court in the criminal cases?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And less time visiting the police stations?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Now, does that, therefore, help us to date your

14 experiences at the police stations? They must perhaps,

15 do you agree, have taken place before you returned from

16 your honeymoon?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. When was that in 1998? I am sure you can remember that.

19 A. May.

20 Q. In May?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. So the experiences that you have told us about, you

23 think, must have taken place before May 1998?

24 A. I think so, yes.

25 Q. Thank you. Now, if you move down the statement into the

 

 

32

 

1 next paragraph, you talk about the Dispatches

2 programme -- you have already mentioned it to me -- and

3 you talk about the trip to the United States of America

4 to address Congress, and that was in September 1998, we

5 know.

6 At paragraph 17, which is the next one (displayed),

7 you give your view about this coverage?

8 A. Hm-mm.

9 Q. Is this a fair summary: you were concerned that the

10 coverage in the media was showing only one side of the

11 work she was doing?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Thank you. It was focusing on her work for Republicans?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And not making it clear that the client base was much

16 broader than that?

17 A. It was, yes.

18 Q. And you give as an example work taken on by the practice

19 for some UDA people?

20 A. Hm-mm.

21 Q. Just so I am clear about this, this broad nature of the

22 client base, that continued, did it, as far as you were

23 aware, until the time of Rosemary Nelson's death?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Thank you. Now, you were sufficiently concerned,

 

 

33

 

1 weren't you, to discuss this also with your colleagues?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. In the office, and to be, as you put it, a little bit

4 worried?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. What was it about that that worried you?

7 A. Again, probably thinking about what happened to

8 Pat Finucane, you know, and that some people associate,

9 you know -- they think she is only acting for one side;

10 they would associate that with her. And they would

11 associate it with us because we were in the office.

12 Q. So you were concerned that it was a risky thing to be

13 portrayed in this way in the media?

14 A. Yes, at that time.

15 Q. And specifically for a lawyer to be shown as allied to

16 one particular cause?

17 A. In Northern Ireland, yes.

18 Q. And if you look over the page at RNI-813-437

19 (displayed), you say:

20 "I wasn't really worried about myself but I do

21 remember joking ..."

22 Then you explain what the joke was, namely that you

23 had a big window at the front of the building and this

24 was on the street, wasn't it?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

34

 

1 Q. Is it right that at the -- if I can put it this way --

2 the marching season in the summer, in July, you used

3 sometimes to put the shutters down after business hours?

4 A. Yes, we always put the shutters down, I think.

5 Q. Even during the day?

6 A. No, not during the day.

7 Q. No, once business hours were over, if there were people

8 still there, you would put the shutters down, would you?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And that was to give you some form of protection?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. As you say:

13 "It is not because we were scared, we just didn't

14 want people watching us as we were doing our work."

15 It wasn't a bit of both?

16 A. Yes, it could have been.

17 Q. It was a bit of both?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Then you start to tell us about the various forms of

20 threat that you knew about, and in paragraph 20 you talk

21 about one of the firm's clients in -- I think it must be

22 Gough Barracks, is that right, at Armagh?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Who the police accused of having a relationship with

25 her, and said something about telling her that she was

 

 

35

 

1 going to be dead?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Or something like that. Can I ask you, please, to look

4 at RNI-115-163 (displayed)?

5 This is a statement of Shane McCrory which you

6 witnessed, do you see?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. It was there before the thing was enlarged. That is

9 obviously before you got married?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Do you see at the end of the statement there is

12 a quotation:

13 "She won't be here that long, she will be dead"?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. It sounds as though that may have been the client you

16 had in mind?

17 A. Yes, it does.

18 Q. Thank you. And we can see that statement is

19 27th February 1998?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And going back to paragraph 20 on RNI-813-437

22 (displayed), you say:

23 "I think I may have typed up a witness statement of

24 this individual and that is why I came to find out about

25 it. And then I asked her what happened."

 

 

36

 

1 So it looks as though this is the statement that you

2 typed up?

3 A. Yes, it does.

4 Q. And you then, I think, tell us what Rosemary Nelson told

5 you. You say:

6 "I asked her what happened."

7 Do you remember what she told you?

8 A. Where is that, sorry?

9 Q. If you see in the middle of the paragraph 20, I am

10 sorry, it says:

11 "I think I may have typed up a witness statement of

12 this individual ..."

13 And I think we have just agreed that that is

14 probably the one we have seen:

15 "... and that is why I came to find out about it.

16 And then I asked her ..."

17 I think that must be Rosemary Nelson:

18 "... what had happened."

19 A. Hm-mm.

20 Q. Do you remember what she told you?

21 A. No.

22 Q. You don't?

23 A. No.

24 Q. So when you say in the next sentence:

25 "I got the impression the police thought that

 

 

37

 

1 Rosemary had the same beliefs as her clients."

2 What was that based on?

3 A. Things clients would have reported the police had said

4 to them either in the barracks or out in the street.

5 Q. So it was based on the comments which came back to you?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Either because she told you about them or because you

8 saw the statements?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And those comments convinced you, didn't they, that, as

11 you put it:

12 "They didn't like her at all"?

13 A. Yes, that's right.

14 Q. It looks as though your view about this was the reason

15 they didn't like her was because she was so good at her

16 job?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And that meant that she got people off?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Now, you then tell us about an incident involving

21 Billy Wright. This is paragraph 21.

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And I just want to ask you about that. How did you come

24 to know of that?

25 A. Rosemary told me.

 

 

38

 

1 Q. She told you?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. So what is set out in this paragraph is what you can

4 remember of what you were told by her?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Thank you. And again, her reaction was to make light

7 of it?

8 A. Yes, it was.

9 Q. Now, you say in the next paragraph, 22, that the threats

10 coming in to the firm began shortly after you started

11 work?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Now, that means, doesn't it, that we are talking about

14 a period of time from September 1993, when you began?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Can you look, please, at RNI-831-219 (displayed). That

17 is your police statement.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Do you see in the second line you say when you started

20 work?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And then you say two lines down:

23 "The first one of which I am aware was just a short

24 time after I began work with this firm, probably during

25 the autumn of 1993."

 

 

39

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And this was a threat that the office would receive

3 a black wreath, wasn't it?

4 A. There was a lot of that happening in the town at the

5 time. Catholic businesses were getting black wreaths

6 sent to them.

7 Q. Yes. So it was by no means the only office singled out

8 for this treatment?

9 A. No.

10 Q. But Rosemary Nelson obviously learnt about it and

11 decided to close the office, didn't she?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. But although that took place as long ago as autumn in

14 1993, as far as you can recall there were a number of

15 other threats during the time you worked there, weren't

16 there?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And you tell us about them beginning in paragraph 23 of

19 your statement, on the same page, RNI-813-438

20 (displayed).

21 Now, the first one you talk about, you say you

22 remember Bernie -- that is Bernadette Rogers?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. -- opening an envelope which had a threatening letter in

25 it and then there was a threatening card. Again, can

 

 

40

 

1 you help us with any indication of a date on this?

2 A. No, I really can't remember.

3 Q. If you look, please, at RNI-831-220, it may be

4 that there is some help there. It is at the bottom of

5 the page, RNI-831-220 (displayed).

6 This is the same statement, the police statement,

7 and you are talking about threats, and ones coming from

8 the clients and the one in blue paper which we will deal

9 with in a minute. That is a bit further down the page.

10 But if you look right at the bottom of the page, you

11 say:

12 "I probably became aware of these threats when I was

13 working for the firm for about a year or so."

14 A. Right.

15 Q. Now, that is what you remembered in March 1999.

16 A. Hm-mm.

17 Q. It sounds, doesn't it, as though that would put it into

18 the autumn of 1994, wouldn't it?

19 A. Yes, it would.

20 Q. Okay. So perhaps a year after the black wreath and some

21 years before the Garvaghy Road and the second

22 Colin Duffy case --

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. -- came into the practice.

25 Now, so far as other incidents are concerned, you

 

 

41

 

1 help us with various examples, including at 24, at

2 RNI-813-438 (displayed), where there was an evacuation

3 of the street but for some reason your firm wasn't told.

4 And I think you learned about it, didn't you, from

5 a client who came into the office to tell you that the

6 street had been cordoned off, but that no information --

7 A. They didn't bother coming in to tell us.

8 Q. No. Were you surprised that they hadn't bothered?

9 A. No.

10 Q. No. But throughout all of this you say that

11 Rosemary Nelson didn't seem to take these things too

12 seriously?

13 A. She may have done, she didn't appear to me to be, I

14 would say. That she was just putting on a brave face

15 for us, the staff.

16 Q. She could easily have been frightened but she was

17 putting on this front for her staff?

18 A. Yes.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: Would that be a convenient moment or have you

20 a little more to do?

21 MR PHILLIPS: I have about, I imagine, 10 or 15 minutes

22 to do.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: I think the stenographer has been working

24 hard and no doubt Mrs McCrory would like a break.

25 A. Yes, thank you.

 

 

42

 

1 THE CHAIRMAN: We will have a quarter of an hour's break.

2 (11.15 am)

3 (Short break)

4 (11.30 am)

5 MR PHILLIPS: Can I ask you to look again, please, at

6 paragraph 20 at RNI-813-437 (displayed), the first

7 sentence:

8 "I remember Rosemary telling me about one of her

9 clients in the barracks at Armagh who the police accused

10 of having a relationship with her and said something

11 about telling her that she was going to be dead, or

12 something like that."

13 So there are two elements to it, aren't there?

14 There is the accusation of having a relationship with

15 her and that she was going to be dead, or something like

16 that. Having seen that, can we look again, please, at

17 RNI-115-163 (displayed)? This is the statement that you

18 witnessed -- we have already seen it.

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And I showed you the passage in quotation marks:

21 "She won't be here that long, she will be dead."

22 So it looks, doesn't it, as though this was

23 a statement which you certainly did witness, which dealt

24 with the second point, i.e. "she won't be here long, she

25 will be dead", but it doesn't, does it, contain from the

 

 

43

 

1 client the comment he says the police made about

2 a relationship?

3 A. That is right.

4 Q. Yes, it is just the first. So just going back to

5 paragraph 20, I just want to ask you again in

6 fairness -- if you go back to paragraph 20 at

7 RNI-813-437 (displayed), the question is this. Earlier

8 you told me you thought this was the statement, the

9 statement of Shane McCrory. Are you confident about

10 that?

11 A. I do remember a statement saying that Rosemary had

12 sexual relationships with her clients. I do remember.

13 It's not in that statement of Shane McCrory so it must

14 be another statement.

15 Q. Thank you. That is something, that allegation that you

16 touch on at paragraph 30 of your own statement,

17 RNI-813-440 (displayed) -- it is the last sentence of

18 that paragraph -- and you say:

19 "He ..."

20 This is where you are talking about the

21 Shane McCrory statement:

22 "He is not a person who the police made the comment

23 to which was of a sexual nature."

24 So you were making that point yourself:

25 "I think the person that comment was made to was

 

 

44

 

1 called Paul."

2 Then you say:

3 "There was certainly no truth in the police

4 allegations that Rosemary had any sexual relations with

5 her clients."

6 So I am clear about this, you were aware, were you,

7 that allegations of this kind were being made?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. But that to your knowledge they were false?

10 A. Oh, yes.

11 Q. Did you hear at the time any other rumours of this kind?

12 A. No.

13 Q. No. Thank you.

14 Coming back to the question of threats, can I ask

15 you to look, please, back to your police statement.

16 This is RNI-831-220 (displayed). About ten lines down

17 the page, when you are talking about comments made to

18 the police, you deal again with the question of taking

19 a statement, and you say:

20 "I think it was the person the police had said to

21 'you are going to die when you get out and tell Rosemary

22 she is going to die too'."

23 Then you say:

24 "I think they said something of a sexual nature,

25 something about them (the client) having sex with her.

 

 

45

 

1 I can't remember exactly what it was."

2 That seems to be on the same point yet again?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Moving on, please, the next section which begins:

5 "I remember Bernie Rogers ..."

6 You are dealing with something completely different,

7 which is a letter, and if we can have this part of the

8 statement enlarged, please. So this is you

9 in March 1999:

10 "I remember Bernie Rogers opened a letter one

11 morning. It was maybe about six months ago."

12 So that would be, what, October 1998, roughly:

13 "It was last year. I think it was blue paper and

14 a blue envelope. I read the threatening letter. I

15 think it was in ordinary handwriting. I can't remember

16 what it said, but I thought, 'Oh God'. It was really

17 scary. It didn't frighten me, I was frightened for her.

18 It was addressed to her."

19 So this, then six months before the murder, is how

20 you reacted to this particular threat letter?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. You are not concerned for your own safety, are you, but

23 for hers?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. This was one of a number of letters of this kind,

 

 

46

 

1 wasn't it?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And you say later on that:

4 "On this topic also Rosemary Nelson was in touch

5 with her contacts."

6 And you give the examples there of British Irish

7 Rights Watch and CAJ:

8 "She may have given the letters to them."

9 You think?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. What I would like you to do for us, please, is to look

12 at a document on the screen. It is RNI-102-093

13 (displayed).

14 This is one of a number of very bad copies of this

15 document and it is the page number you refer to -- there

16 is no need to look this now -- in paragraph 31 of your

17 statement. And in that context, you say:

18 "I don't recognise this letter and I don't think it

19 was the one that came on blue paper."

20 The one we have just been reading about.

21 Can you have a look, please, at RNI-115-351

22 (displayed). This -- I am afraid you will have to take

23 it from me -- is a better copy of the same document. It

24 says:

25 "We have you in our sights, you Republican bastard.

 

 

47

 

1 We will teach you a lesson. RIP."

2 Was that a letter that you ever saw?

3 A. I think so.

4 Q. You think you did?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. You are obviously not sure?

7 A. No, I am not.

8 Q. So can I take it that it wasn't a letter that you

9 opened, for example?

10 A. No, I didn't open it.

11 Q. No. So if you had seen it, it would have been shown to

12 you by somebody else in the office?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Can you remember anything more about this letter?

15 A. No.

16 Q. Do you think, for example, that it might have been one

17 of the ones passed on to CAJ or British Irish Rights

18 Watch?

19 A. It could have been.

20 Q. But you can't be more certain than that?

21 A. No.

22 Q. I would like to ask you, please, now about the day of

23 the murder itself, which you deal with at the end of

24 your statement, 15th March 1999.

25 On that day you went to the scene of the explosion,

 

 

48

 

1 didn't you?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And you tell us what happened in paragraph 28 of your

4 statement. If you could have a look at that, please,

5 RNI-813-439 (displayed). You say that you saw a lot of

6 police and Army personnel standing around the scene of

7 the explosion smiling, grinning and laughing?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. "They seemed to be very relaxed and I couldn't believe

10 it."

11 A. That is right.

12 Q. And you and your friends from the office discussed it on

13 your way back, didn't you?

14 A. Yes, that is right.

15 Q. And over the page at RNI-813-440 (displayed), you

16 suggest that it was mostly the police who were behaving

17 in this way?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. You can't help us with any of their names or identities?

20 A. No. They were wearing like navy boiler suits and

21 standing around the scene, and there were some in the

22 back of the Land Rover as well.

23 Q. But how do you think they regarded what had happened?

24 A. They seemed quite happy about it.

25 Q. Nobody in your group anyway complained to them, did you?

 

 

49

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. I am going to ask you to look at a map so that you can

3 help us where this took place.

4 A. Right.

5 Q. Can we have the Lurgan map, please (displayed)? Thank

6 you.

7 Now, you will see it has various boxes on it; most

8 of them are irrelevant, but can you see in the middle of

9 the page in a black box is where Rosemary Nelson's house

10 was?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And then very close to that at the junction where the

13 explosion took place?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Now, all I wanted to ask you is first of all where you

16 were standing when you saw the police and Army personnel

17 laughing?

18 A. Quite close to where the explosion was.

19 Q. Right. Can you help with any more detail, perhaps by

20 reference to that lane, Fox's Glen?

21 A. Fox's Glen comes out on to Lake Street, around there.

22 We kind of went round into Rosemary's house and then we

23 were coming back again. I think that is when we noticed

24 more, and we parked up Lake Street a bit. There is

25 a school there on the right, kind of like a lay-by, and

 

 

50

 

1 one of the Land Rovers was parked in the lay-by with the

2 back opened facing out on to Lake Street, and there was

3 police in it and they were all standing around where the

4 explosion was, all around there.

5 Q. Right. How close to them were you?

6 A. 50 yards.

7 Q. Right. And you had a clear view?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Can you help us with roughly how many individuals there

10 were?

11 A. There probably would have been about five or six

12 standing around, maybe another five or six in the

13 Land Rover, around the Land Rover. Maybe -- or maybe

14 more. Maybe between 10 and 15 altogether.

15 Q. Now, you then tell us about what happened when you got

16 back to the office with your colleagues.

17 So you left the scene, Rosemary Nelson had been

18 taken to hospital, and in paragraph 27 you describe

19 answering the telephone and there was somebody speaking

20 on the other end and I assume you didn't know who it

21 was, you didn't recognise the voice. And your

22 recollection of that is set out, isn't it, in

23 paragraph 27. We don't need to go over that.

24 Can I just ask you this: do you remember saying

25 anything in response?

 

 

51

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. You don't remember shouting down the phone?

3 A. I might have.

4 Q. Do you think you might have shouted and then put the

5 phone down?

6 A. Yes, I might have done.

7 Q. Those are all the questions I want to ask you, but if

8 there is anything else that you want to mention, you

9 want to raise with the Inquiry panel, this is your

10 chance. Is there anything else you would like to

11 mention?

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

13 Q. Thank you very much.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Mrs McCrory, thank you very much for coming

15 along to give evidence. We appreciate how distressing

16 it must have been for you to remember these things.

17 Thank you very much for coming.

18 A. You're welcome.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: We will adjourn until Monday at 1.00 pm.

20 (11.46 am)

21 (The Inquiry adjourned until 1.00 pm on Monday

22 12th May 2008)

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