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Full Hearings

Hearing: 7th May 2008, day 15

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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 Wednesday, 7th May 2008
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Wednesday, 7th May 2008

2 (10.15 am)

3 MRS NUALA MCCANN (continued)

4 Questions by MR PHILLIPS (continued)

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips.

6 MR PHILLIPS: Mrs McCann, just before we came to an end

7 yesterday, I was asking you, if you remember, about this

8 question of publicity and whether or not Rosemary Nelson

9 was giving interviews to the media.

10 Now, I just want to check that I have got this

11 absolutely clear from you, because I understood it that

12 you were saying that if interviews were given, they must

13 have taken place outside the office as far as you are

14 aware. Is that right?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. I think it is only fair to say that in other evidence,

17 for instance, from Mr Vernon, who we talked about

18 yesterday, there is a reference to a stream of

19 journalists and TV cameramen and others coming into the

20 practice at various times to conduct interviews with

21 Rosemary Nelson. Is that something you remember?

22 A. I'm not aware of it, no, unless -- I was part-time. It

23 could have been in the afternoons when I wasn't there,

24 or, as well, the office was split in two and Rosemary

25 was in to her right and I was in the back office, at the

 

 

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1 back of the secretaries. So there could have been in

2 and out that I didn't know of.

3 Q. Your recollection anyway, so far as you are aware, there

4 wasn't a stream of interviews of media people coming in

5 and out of the office?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Thank you. Now, we also talked yesterday about the

8 question of politics and the extent to which there was

9 involvement by Rosemary Nelson in the political sphere,

10 in political work, and you gave your understanding about

11 that.

12 Can I ask you about a related topic, which is about

13 NGOs? Were you aware of contact, for example, in the

14 course of the Duffy case in 1997, between

15 Rosemary Nelson and NGOs?

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Can you explain what NGOs are.

17 MR PHILLIPS: So sorry, absolutely right. I mean

18 non-governmental organisations; for example, CAJ or

19 British Irish Rights Watch.

20 A. I have heard of British Irish Rights Watch but I don't

21 know of interviews or anything, no.

22 Q. No, thank you very much.

23 Just returning to the question of the Duffy case, if

24 I may, one of the topics we discussed yesterday was

25 about what impact that had or didn't have on the

 

 

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1 practice. I just want to ask you just a few questions

2 about that again this morning.

3 As far as you are aware, was anybody in the office

4 worried about their own security in the light of the

5 fact that Rosemary Nelson was representing Colin Duffy?

6 A. I don't think so. There wasn't -- it wasn't a topic of

7 conversation. I didn't feel that my safety at all was

8 jeopardised. I mean, I drove Rosemary's car. I was at

9 Rosemary's house. I was in and out of the office all

10 the time, never dreamt of looking under Rosemary's car

11 to check there was anything there. So obviously I

12 didn't feel that there was anything to do with safety.

13 Q. Just to pick up that point you have made, when you were

14 driving the car, you didn't check underneath it?

15 A. No.

16 Q. No. So that was your own position. Do you remember any

17 discussions where other people expressed their concerns

18 about their own security?

19 A. I think the only time there would have been a discussion

20 was after Rosemary died and we got threatening letters

21 after her death. There would have been concern, but I

22 don't know of concern -- if maybe the other girls talked

23 among themselves, I don't know, but I did not have

24 a conversation about it beforehand, no.

25 Q. Now, the threatening letters after the murder, those are

 

 

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1 things, I think, that you referred to in your own

2 statement, aren't they?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Can we just at that, since you have mentioned them,

5 please? Can we look, please, at paragraph 119, which is

6 at 297?

7 A. My screen isn't on.

8 Q. Oh, do you have your statement there?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Could you use the old-fashioned hard copy for a moment

11 and perhaps the IT problem can be fixed.

12 Oh, it appears that the problem is a general

13 problem. Sir, it may be sensible to rise for a moment

14 while this is fixed because it will obviously make it

15 difficult to see the documents.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: We will rise for a few minutes. Sorry about

17 this, Mrs McCann, but it will help you when we find the

18 place.

19 (10.21 am)

20 (Short adjournment)

21 (10.24 am)

22 THE CHAIRMAN: All now in order?

23 MR PHILLIPS: Yes, sir. I fear it was in order before.

24 Now, the page we want is a page in the witness

25 statement at RNI-813-297 (displayed). I think the

 

 

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1 problem was not with the technology but the incompetent

2 way that it was being used by me.

3 So we were talking, Mrs McCann, about events after

4 the murder, and this is paragraph 119. There, you give

5 an example of two letters received at the practice after

6 Rosemary Nelson's murder. Is it at this point then that

7 the conversations you mentioned took place concerning

8 security?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. So is it your evidence that people became more worried

11 after the murder?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Yes, and that is when those conversations took place?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Thank you.

16 Going back to the topic we were looking at, which is

17 the Colin Duffy case, can I ask you, please, to look at

18 paragraph 37 of your statement, RNI-813-276 (displayed).

19 You deal there with the appointments, Colin Duffy's

20 appointments, with Rosemary Nelson.

21 The impression one gets from other evidence is that

22 he was a very regular visitor to the practice. Is that

23 your own recollection?

24 A. Again, I was in the back office and I didn't see who

25 came and went to the reception, so I couldn't have told

 

 

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1 you how many times he was in the office.

2 Q. Are you able to help us as to whether the case was given

3 priority in the practice?

4 A. It would have been like any other case. If there was

5 something important had to be done on it, it was dealt

6 with, yes.

7 Q. Can I move on to a topic we touched on yesterday which

8 is the question of Rosemary Nelson's finances, because

9 you explained to us yesterday about how the office and

10 the personal expenditure came out of the same account,

11 as far as you were aware?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Now, in your statement at paragraph 38 and following,

14 you deal another source of income, which came from the

15 property at Deeny Drive. Am I right in thinking that

16 you dealt with the setting up of an account for the

17 receipt of the rent for that property?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And is this then the nominal account that you refer to

20 in your statement?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Paragraph 41, do you see on the next page, RNI-813-277

23 (displayed)? So this income then was kept separately,

24 was it, from the office income that you mentioned

25 earlier?

 

 

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1 A. It came into the same bank account and on the computer

2 I just put it on to a nominal account.

3 Q. I see. Now, you explain how the property was bought as

4 an investment and you say in paragraph 40 that

5 Rosemary Nelson did not discuss the matter with you, the

6 arrangements she had made with Colin Duffy, and you use

7 these words:

8 "I did not draw any inferences from the fact that

9 Rosemary Nelson had rented the property to one of her

10 clients."

11 Now, what inferences do you think might have been

12 drawn?

13 A. When the Inquiry team interviewed me, they asked me -- I

14 can't remember their exact words, but what they were

15 saying that there had been -- was there a connection

16 with Rosemary actually renting it to a client. And

17 I said, as far as I was concerned, Rosemary had planned

18 on buying three houses -- one for each of her

19 children -- as an investment, and at that time that was

20 her first house. And I don't know how it came about

21 that he needed a house. I suppose with him being

22 a client she had just bought this house and he went in

23 as a tenant.

24 Q. And you say in the same paragraph of your statement at

25 the end that you didn't think there was anything

 

 

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1 improper or inappropriate about the arrangement?

2 A. No, they asked me did I feel that.

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. No.

5 Q. Did you think it was unusual?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Was it something that had happened in your previous

8 employment?

9 A. That -- previous solicitors?

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. My previous solicitors didn't have any houses out

12 renting, no. In Lurgan it is very common for people to

13 buy houses and rent them out to housing executive

14 tenants.

15 Q. Do you remember a case in this practice where there was

16 such an arrangement between solicitor and client?

17 A. No.

18 Q. You say in the same paragraph, at paragraph 40, that you

19 considered it -- that is the arrangement about the

20 flat -- to be an "at arm's length arrangement". Can

21 I just ask you what you mean by that?

22 A. Yes, he was the tenant. His rent was paid by the

23 housing executive. He didn't have to come into our

24 office to pay rent or anything. The housing executive

25 had a direct debit straight into Rosemary's bank.

 

 

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1 Q. As far as you were aware then, this was an arrangement

2 which was quite open? You say that.

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And known about in the firm?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Is that right?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Was it something that was discussed in the firm?

9 A. No.

10 Q. Can you see how it might have been thought as an example

11 of a blurring of the line between the solicitor on the

12 one hand and the client on the other?

13 A. No.

14 Q. No. Do you remember anybody expressing any concern

15 about the arrangement in the practice?

16 A. No.

17 Q. It didn't cause any concern in your mind?

18 A. No.

19 Q. No. Can you see how other people might regard this as

20 an example of a blurring of a line between a client on

21 the one hand and solicitor on the other?

22 A. Not until the Inquiry team put it to me.

23 Q. No. You weren't aware then of any rumours or

24 suggestions that there was more than a professional

25 relationship between Colin Duffy and Rosemary Nelson?

 

 

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1 A. I didn't see that there was a problem with Rosemary

2 renting to a client, no.

3 Q. But did you ever hear rumours of the kind I have just

4 mentioned during your time working in the practice?

5 A. Not until afterwards, yes.

6 Q. And you heard them afterwards?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Can you remember how you heard them?

9 A. I think maybe in the newspaper there might have been an

10 article with no names, and people were referring it to

11 Rosemary.

12 Q. But that wasn't something you were aware of at any time

13 before her murder?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Thank you. Can we move on to a different topic now, and

16 in your statement it is at paragraph 42 and begins at

17 the bottom of this page, RNI-813-277 (displayed).

18 Do you know how Rosemary Nelson came to take on the

19 Coalition, the Residents Coalition, as a client?

20 A. No. I think it was mainly Rosemary went to the same

21 school as Breandan Mac Cionnaith and I think that is

22 what the connection was. And with the Garvaghy Road.

23 It was seasonal. Do you know, when you talk about the

24 workload with Garvaghy Road, it didn't run the whole

25 year.

 

 

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1 Q. Can we just concentrate on that point you have just

2 made?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Because the impression one gets from the material we

5 have now seen is that, of course, it came to a peak in

6 the lead-up to the July march, parade, but there was

7 a good deal of other work going on at other times during

8 the year. Is that not your impression?

9 A. To do with Garvaghy Road?

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. No. With Garvaghy Road, maybe a month or so running up

12 to Garvaghy Road there could have been meetings that

13 would have started off and then there would have been

14 the 12th July, the parades. And as the time where they

15 had the complaints -- not complaints -- its action(?)

16 was one year and that was dealt with, and then we went

17 back to normal again after that. It didn't run all

18 year.

19 Q. No. So there were flurries of activity?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Including the complaints after the 1997 season?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. But most of the rest of the year you are saying there

24 was little --

25 A. It wasn't filled with Garvaghy Road, no.

 

 

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1 Q. During the period of the season, if I can put it that

2 way, in the summer, presumably there was very intensive

3 involvement by Rosemary Nelson and perhaps others in the

4 Garvaghy Road work. Is that right?

5 A. Yes, leading up to it, yes, there would have been a lot

6 of meetings.

7 Q. And at the time itself she would have been out there

8 with the residents on the road, dealing with the

9 situation?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And we have seen, for example, that there was talk of

12 getting an emergency injunction at one stage. Do you

13 remember that?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. To try and prevent the march or parade taking place?

16 A. Hm-mm.

17 Q. One aspect of that work I wanted to ask you about is

18 about money, because obviously that is your area within

19 the practice. Do you remember how that work was dealt

20 with in terms of fee income?

21 A. Well, at the time that the complaints were made some

22 people would have been eligible for green forms; a lot

23 of them weren't. So they would have been submitted and

24 if anything was to go on further, maybe into a civil

25 bill, there would have been just a few and that would

 

 

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1 have been it.

2 Q. So that deals with some of the complaints perhaps, and

3 those that turned into civil claims?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Where Legal Aid would be perhaps available?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. What about the hours, the time spent in relation to the

8 meetings, the other areas of work that were part of

9 this? How was that accounted for?

10 A. Rosemary would have had her file and she would have

11 recorded her time, but there wouldn't have been anything

12 billed until the end of it.

13 Q. Do you think a lot of that work was done, what lawyers

14 say, pro bono? In other words, for nothing?

15 A. Probably.

16 Q. Yes. So it wasn't in that sense conventional practice

17 work, conventional legal work, it was work that she

18 undertook and didn't get, and didn't expect to get, paid

19 for?

20 A. She would have expected to get paid for some of it, yes.

21 Q. But does that just mean the complaints, the civil cases?

22 A. No, she was their legal representative and she would

23 have been billed them for that.

24 Q. You remember that, do you?

25 A. Her billing? No, she hadn't got round to billing for

 

 

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1 it, no.

2 Q. Right. So by the time of her murder, you as the sort of

3 bookkeeper hadn't seen a bill going out for her wok of

4 that kind to the Residents Coalition?

5 A. No.

6 Q. Thank you.

7 Now, what I would like to do now, please, is to look

8 at the evidence you give about July 1997, and can you

9 turn over, please, to RNI-813-278 in the same statement

10 (displayed). And this is paragraph 46 at the bottom of

11 the page. This is where you deal with seeing what you

12 describe as numerous bruises to her legs and arms and

13 one of her shoulders.

14 As you heard with Mr Leeson -- I am interested to

15 learn a little more, any more detail you can give me

16 about this. First of all, in terms of timing -- we are

17 talking now about the early part of July -- can you now

18 remember how soon after the event you had this

19 discussion with Rosemary Nelson?

20 A. The next morning.

21 Q. It was the next morning?

22 A. Hm-mm.

23 Q. So that I am absolutely clear about this, the events

24 appear to have taken place during the course of the

25 night. So we are talking about, as it were, after dawn

 

 

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1 broke the next day?

2 A. I think so. Yes, she would have come home, yes, and it

3 was the next day that she rang me and asked me to call.

4 Q. That is the next question I had: was this a conversation

5 that took place face-to-face --

6 A. Yes, in her house.

7 Q. In her house?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. So she asked you to come over?

10 A. Hm-mm.

11 Q. And you came over and had the conversation that you

12 describe?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Okay. Did she show you the bruising?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And can you now remember -- it is obviously many years

17 later, but can you now remember where it was?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Can you tell us, please?

20 A. It was on her shoulders and her arm and her thighs.

21 Q. And she showed you?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Right. Can you describe it to us?

24 A. It was red and purple, the markings all seemed to be

25 down one side.

 

 

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1 Q. One side of her body?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. So does that mean it wasn't, for example, on both arms,

4 it was just on one arm?

5 A. As far as I remember it was just on one side, yes.

6 Q. Can you remember which side?

7 A. I think it was her left.

8 Q. Her left side?

9 A. But it is a long time ago.

10 Q. It is a very long time ago, but you think it was on her

11 left side?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. What about the bruising on her shoulder, was that on the

14 left side?

15 A. Yes, I think it was all on her left side.

16 Q. So on the leg as well?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. But not on the right leg?

19 A. I don't think so.

20 Q. And not on the right shoulder?

21 A. No.

22 Q. Did she tell you whether she had had any medical

23 treatment?

24 A. She hadn't.

25 Q. She had not?

 

 

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1 A. No.

2 Q. You don't remember her going to hospital, for example?

3 A. She didn't.

4 Q. No. So how was she dealing with the bruising?

5 A. She said it was painful and it was terrifying for what

6 she went through. She was shaking.

7 Q. Was she still shaking the next morning?

8 A. Yes, she was.

9 Q. And you describe in this paragraph, 46, what she told

10 you about what had happened to her. And if you turn

11 over the page to RNI-813-279 (displayed), it continues.

12 Then you raise in 48, the next paragraph, this question:

13 you asked her -- I think this is what you are saying --

14 whether she was going to have photographs taken. Can

15 you remember why you asked that question?

16 A. So that she would have proof of what happened if she was

17 going to make a complaint.

18 Q. So it was clear already that she was going to make

19 a complaint?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And you don't know whether she did have the photographs

22 taken. Is that right?

23 A. I don't think she did.

24 Q. You don't think she did. Looking at it now with

25 hindsight, if she was assembling proof about her

 

 

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1 treatment, that would have been a logical thing to do?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And no doubt that is why you suggested it at the time?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And the same apples surely to getting a medical report?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Did you raise that with her as well?

8 A. Yes, I think we talked about her going to the doctor.

9 Q. Why did -- sorry to interrupt you.

10 A. She didn't.

11 Q. Do you know why she didn't?

12 A. Rosemary was good at getting her clients to do all these

13 things but when it came to herself, it was different.

14 Q. So the advice she would have given a client was advice

15 given to a client, not advice she would follow herself?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. A very familiar position.

18 So as far as your involvement is concerned, did you

19 have anything further to do with the complaint that we

20 know did take place?

21 A. No.

22 Q. However, what you describe vividly in your statement at

23 paragraph 50 -- and I am now moving down to the bottom

24 of the page -- is your involvement in taking the

25 statements, and was this the same year, in other words,

 

 

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1 in 1997?

2 A. That is the only time I took statements, yes.

3 Q. And we have heard already that it looks as though the

4 whole office decamped to go and take statements from

5 residents?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Had you ever done that before?

8 A. No.

9 Q. Were you given any guidelines or training to help you

10 do it?

11 A. Well, I had said it is a long time since I had done

12 shorthand, but Rosemary had just told me to write down

13 what the client was telling me.

14 Q. So, so we are clear how it worked, you went down to the

15 hall and presumably there was a queue of people for each

16 member of staff and you sat down and took their

17 statements?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And what were they telling you? Were they explaining

20 their experiences on the Garvaghy Road that year?

21 A. No, what they were -- it was when the police -- I think

22 it was the time that the march was put down in the early

23 hours of the morning and the police had closed off the

24 area and a lot of people got hurt and it was those

25 people that wanted to make statements. So they just had

 

 

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1 said what had happened and how they had got hurt.

2 Q. And did you have any further involvement in those

3 complaints or civil actions --

4 A. No.

5 Q. -- after that?

6 A. No.

7 Q. No. Can I just ask you some questions about

8 paragraph 44 in your statement, where you are talking

9 about the Garvaghy Road work more generally? We have

10 also covered this morning the other work being done on

11 behalf of the residents. Then you make this comment in

12 the second sentence:

13 "It was not something that was talked about in the

14 office, so I do not know any more than that."

15 Then you mention that Bernie Rogers may be able to

16 provide more information.

17 First of all, the comment you make that there was

18 not something that was talked about in the office, was

19 there any particular reason for that?

20 A. It was just common work, it wasn't anything bigger than

21 anything else. I was the bookkeeper, so I would have

22 been doing my work, the girls would have been typing and

23 doing up the statements. I did not have anything more

24 to do with it.

25 Q. So what you mean there is not that it was a matter to be

 

 

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1 kept very quiet?

2 A. Oh, no.

3 Q. But it was run of the mill?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Yes. And the person who I think you are saying had more

6 to do with it than you was Bernadette Rogers, or --

7 A. Rosemary's secretary.

8 Q. So it sounds as though she continued to be involved --

9 is this right? --

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. -- after the statement-taking stage in the other work

12 done for the residents?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Thank you. The other thing I wanted to ask you about is

15 in relation to the bruising and the discussion about

16 what had happened to Rosemary Nelson herself. You have

17 explained that she was still shaken the next morning?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Can you give us any other idea of what her mood was:

20 Was she still frightened?

21 A. She was terrified when it happened because she was

22 pulled into the middle of all these policemen and she

23 said they were all in black, you couldn't see anything,

24 only their eyes. Their heads were covered. It must

25 have been whatever suits they were wearing, and she had

 

 

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1 got pushed about and she was terrified. And I don't

2 know how she got out of it. Someone must have pulled

3 her out of it, but she said she was terrified.

4 Q. As far as you knew, was this the first time that she had

5 ever encountered this sort of treatment?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Now, this is July 1997?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Can you help us with the question of Rosemary Nelson's

10 relations with the police. You deal with it in your

11 statement at RNI-813-286, paragraph 63 (displayed).

12 Did the incident you have just described to us,

13 described to you by Rosemary Nelson, did that, do you

14 remember, affect her attitude to the police?

15 A. Well, I would think so to a certain extent. She never

16 told me what they had said about her, which must have

17 been very personal.

18 Q. You don't remember her telling you about comments made

19 to her during the incident?

20 A. No.

21 Q. No. Did she tell you how she got the bruises?

22 A. I think she was just pushed about.

23 Q. She didn't give you any more detail than that?

24 A. No, she said she had asked one of the police for their

25 number and they laughed at her.

 

 

23

 

1 Q. You see, you say in paragraph 64:

2 "I know that Rosemary was often not comfortable

3 going to the police station, but I do not know when this

4 started or if it got worse at the time."

5 What I am seeing whether you can help us with is

6 whether you think that this incident may have led to

7 a change, a deterioration in her relationship with the

8 police?

9 A. After that incident on Garvaghy Road, yes, that shook

10 her up.

11 Q. Can you remember anything now, all these years later,

12 about the relationship she had with the police before

13 the incident?

14 A. I think it would have been just a normal relationship:

15 go over to see your clients and come back out again.

16 Q. You see, earlier in the statement at paragraph 63, you

17 refer to her telling you that some of her clients had

18 told her the police said nasty things about her, and you

19 referred to her going to make complaints?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Thinking about it now, do you think that was before or

22 after this incident?

23 A. I am not sure.

24 Q. What you are saying in your statement -- again, it is

25 64 -- is that you are not sure if it got worse over

 

 

24

 

1 time. So the Garvaghy Road incident in July 1997, in

2 the period between that incident and her murder

3 in March 1999, are you saying that you are not sure

4 whether there was a continued deterioration during that

5 time?

6 A. Yes, I am not sure.

7 Q. And it wasn't your role to go to police stations or

8 holding centres, was it?

9 A. No.

10 Q. Was it, however, a regular thing that she did?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And is it possible for you now to help us with a little

13 more detail? The relations that she had with the

14 police, is that a general point or is it something to do

15 with a particular police station, a particular holding

16 centre?

17 A. I don't think she would have been to many other police

18 stations, only Lurgan.

19 Q. Do you remember her going to holding centres?

20 A. Yes, but I don't even know where they are.

21 Q. Beyond what you have set out in your statement about her

22 reporting things said to her clients and what you

23 mention in 65, which is a different matter to do with an

24 Army patrol, do you remember discussions with her about

25 her relationship with the police?

 

 

25

 

1 A. I can remember when I came into work the next day,

2 Rosemary had told me that there had been something

3 happen outside the office (inaudible).

4 Q. This is paragraph 65?

5 A. Yes. A patrol was coming up William Street and they

6 made some remark to her. I don't know what it was but I

7 think she did make a complaint about it as well.

8 Q. That is what I wanted to ask you about: is it your

9 recollection that the number of complaints increased

10 after the Garvaghy Road incident?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Yes. And did that continue until the time of her

13 murder?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Yes. Did she ever speak to you about how she regarded

16 the police?

17 A. No.

18 Q. Did she ever talk to you about what attitude -- as far

19 as she could see, what attitude the police took to her?

20 A. No. She did say that they just didn't like her. I

21 think as well when she went over, they would have made

22 her wait and that. They wouldn't have been very

23 helpful.

24 Q. So she gave you, as it were, examples?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

26

 

1 Q. To back up the point that, as far as she could see, they

2 didn't like her?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Now, I would like to turn now, please, to the next

5 section of your statement, which deals with threats. In

6 paragraph 66 -- it is on the same page -- you talk about

7 a particular letter and that, as I understand it, was

8 the only threat letter that you ever saw before the

9 murder?

10 A. Yes, that is right.

11 Q. Because of course you have explained there were two

12 after the murder?

13 A. Hm-mm.

14 Q. And this is something that she showed you on one of your

15 visits to her house?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And you say in paragraph 67 that you are not sure what

18 prompted her to show you the letter?

19 A. That is right.

20 Q. Can you remember now roughly when this event took place?

21 A. She had made a cup of coffee and the two of us sat down

22 in the kitchen. We were drinking the coffee and

23 chatting, and then she said to me something like, "Do

24 you see what I got in the post?" and she gave it to me

25 to read.

 

 

27

 

1 Q. Can you help us with the date, roughly, when it might

2 have happened?

3 A. About a year or so before she died maybe.

4 Q. I was trying to find out what your recollection is, but

5 in fact you have dealt with this before. If you look at

6 RNI-831-152 (displayed), this is one of the statements

7 you gave to the police. I think it is the second one,

8 and you see it is dated 16th March, the day after the

9 murder. If you look at the fourth line, you say:

10 "Around October last year, 1998, Rosemary rang me to

11 the office and asked me to bring a file to her house ...

12 While at Rosemary's house ..."

13 You see I have skipped a line:

14 "... she produced this letter to me which she took

15 out of a blue envelope and handed it to me to read.

16 I took the letter in my hand and read it. The letter

17 was a threatening letter to Rosemary. The letter was

18 written on blue paper, was printed and very neat

19 handwriting. It only had a few lines wrote on it and

20 read, 'You're in our sights' or 'We have you in our

21 sights'. The letters RIP were also printed at the

22 bottom of the letter and 'you Fenian bastard or bitch'."

23 If we could keep that on the screen for the moment,

24 please, does that help you with the likely timing of the

25 event?

 

 

28

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. So October 1998, some six or seven months before the

3 murder?

4 A. Hm-mm.

5 Q. Can I ask you the circumstances in which she showed the

6 letter? Were you talking about security or threats? Is

7 that what prompted her to bring out the letter, do you

8 think?

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

10 Q. Did it just come out of the blue?

11 A. She must have just got it in the post.

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. And I hadn't seen it. I don't know if it went to the

14 office or her house, but I hadn't seen it. So she had

15 taken it out.

16 Q. I would like to show you a document, please. Can we

17 have RNI-115-351 (displayed). It doesn't come out very

18 well on the copy, but do you see the text of the note at

19 the bottom of this page:

20 "We have you in our sights, you Republican bastard,

21 we will teach you a lesson, RIP."

22 As far as you can recall, was this the letter that

23 she showed you?

24 A. It must be.

25 Q. You think it is?

 

 

29

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Right, so could we go back to the witness statement,

3 please, which is RNI-831-152 (displayed). What I wanted

4 to ask you about is what her reaction was, because you

5 say here:

6 "I remember saying to Rosemary, 'Are you not

7 afraid?', to which she replied something like, 'What can

8 you do, lock yourself in the house and not go out or

9 just get on with it?'"

10 You say in your statement, paragraph 67, that she

11 just shrugged it off and didn't seem particularly

12 worried about the letter. So that was her attitude,

13 was it?

14 A. Yes. I don't know if that was a cover-up or that was

15 really her.

16 Q. You are not sure whether that was just a front?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Right. Were you surprised about that reaction?

19 A. Yes. If I would have got a letter like that, it would

20 have been a lot different.

21 Q. So you think it is possible that she was not telling you

22 her real feelings about it?

23 A. Yes, and I also think that she really didn't think that

24 anything like that would happen to her.

25 Q. Why do you think that was?

 

 

30

 

1 A. Because she was a woman and a mother.

2 Q. And do you think her belief was that those facts gave

3 her some protection?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. If you look, please, at paragraph 69 of your statement

6 at RNI-813-285 (displayed), in the second sentence, do

7 you see what you say about this? You say:

8 "I think Rosemary felt that because she was so much

9 in the spotlight and because she was a woman and

10 a mother, she was safe."

11 So you have mentioned the second and third

12 factors -- that she was a woman and that she was

13 a mother -- but you also mention the point about being

14 in the spotlight?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Now, were these all factors that she herself talked to

17 you about?

18 A. No, she never, ever said that to me but I felt that.

19 Q. What was it that made you think that these were the key

20 factors?

21 A. Because I think I felt that.

22 Q. Yes. For her?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Yes. Based on what you saw working closely with her in

25 the office, do you think that she regarded her high

 

 

31

 

1 profile as giving her some protection?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Yes. In other words, her thought seemed to be "They

4 wouldn't dare because I am too well-known"?

5 A. No, not that they wouldn't dare because she was

6 well-known, that everyone knew that she was working for

7 clients, that it wasn't her herself, it wasn't her

8 beliefs, it wasn't who she was, she was working for

9 clients.

10 Q. So, just so I have understood that, the important thing

11 to be generally known was that she was doing her job as

12 a lawyer?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. As opposed to sympathising with, identifying with, her

15 clients?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Before her murder, did you believe that those were

18 factors that were likely to protect her?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Did you think at any time before her murder that she was

21 under threat?

22 A. No.

23 Q. No.

24 A. I drove her car all the time. I wouldn't have driven

25 her car if I thought there was a chance someone was

 

 

32

 

1 going to kill her.

2 Q. And not only did you drive the car but, as you have

3 said, you didn't check underneath the car?

4 A. No.

5 Q. And as far as you know, neither did she?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Because the impression we get from your statement is

8 that her approach to her life was one that didn't

9 include much concern about security?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Her office was, broadly speaking, open?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. People could come off the street, and did?

14 A. Hm-mm, yes.

15 Q. And the same applied to her house?

16 A. Yes. I could have walked round the back of the house

17 and in the back door.

18 Q. You would have found the door open?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And as you have already explained to us about

21 Ashford Grange, it was an open area --

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. -- anyway. And as far as you know, in the period

24 leading up to her murder, that attitude of hers never

25 changed?

 

 

33

 

1 A. I don't think so. Well, maybe to other people, she

2 talked to other people, but to me she didn't.

3 Q. Not to you?

4 A. No.

5 Q. In your statement at paragraph 75 you tell us about

6 a conversation you had in which you asked her about

7 security, do you see? And you think it happened because

8 she had told you that Mr Mac Cionnaith had received some

9 protection?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And it looks as though you took the initiative and asked

12 her whether she would be getting any security

13 protection. Is that your recollection?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Why did it occur to you to ask that question?

16 A. Well, if Breandan Mac Cionnaith was involved with the

17 Garvaghy Road and Rosemary was as well, I thought that

18 it might have been offered to her as well.

19 Q. So that what applied to him should apply to her?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Yes. She told you, you say, that there was a device

22 which you could use to check whether your car had been

23 tampered with, and in the same way i.e. what is good

24 enough for him is good enough for her -- you asked her

25 whether she was going to get one as well?

 

 

34

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And presumably for the same reason?

3 A. Hm-mm.

4 Q. But as far as you know, she didn't acquire a device,

5 did she?

6 A. She didn't get one, no, but I know that she wanted one.

7 So she must have then had a change of heart about her

8 security.

9 Q. That is what I wanted to ask you. So at this stage in

10 your conversation you got the impression that she did --

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. -- want such a device?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And it looks from the top of page RNI-813-287

15 (displayed) as though she may have told you -- you tell

16 me whether it is right or not -- that she was going to

17 ask for some security herself?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Can you remember whether at the time of the conversation

20 she was telling you she had asked or whether she was

21 going to ask for some security?

22 A. I think she had asked.

23 Q. She had asked?

24 A. She had enquired about it, yes.

25 Q. Can you remember who she asked?

 

 

35

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. No, but it looks from your statement as though what you

3 do remember is that she didn't get any?

4 A. That is right.

5 Q. And you have made a suggestion that this may have had

6 something to do with the level of risk?

7 A. Hm-mm.

8 Q. And that's your recollection now, is it?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Did you have any involvement, further involvement, with

11 this question or further discussions with her about it?

12 A. No.

13 Q. No. But what you do tell us is that, as far as you

14 could see, she carried on as normal?

15 A. Hm-mm.

16 Q. In other words, after this conversation up to the time

17 of her murder she carried on as normal?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And I take that to mean that the openness in the office,

20 the openness in the house carried on?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. She did not change any of her routines, which you have

23 described?

24 A. No.

25 Q. She took the same route to work?

 

 

36

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And as far as you could tell, therefore, made no changes

3 in the way she lived her life in the period up to her

4 murder?

5 A. That is correct.

6 Q. Now, can I ask you this as somebody who knew her well:

7 do you think if she had been offered advice by the

8 police about her security she would have been happy to

9 take it?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. She would?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Do you think -- which is not at all the same thing --

14 that if she had received that advice she would have been

15 happy to follow it?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Even if it had meant making changes to the way she lived

18 her life?

19 A. Yes, if there was a concern that the risk of security --

20 yes.

21 Q. So you think she would have been prepared, for example,

22 to lock the house or to change her route to work from

23 time to time?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. You think she would?

 

 

37

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. What about looking under the car?

3 A. I didn't look under her car. It is something that you

4 just forget about.

5 Q. Yes. And you are sure in your mind, are you, that if

6 that advice had come from the police she would have been

7 happy to accept it?

8 A. If the police would have given her a device that, you

9 used for putting over your car, she would have used it,

10 yes.

11 Q. In the course of the discussion you have mentioned in

12 your statement about her security, did the question of

13 the way she parked her car outside her house come up?

14 A. No, she just drove her car into the drive.

15 Q. She didn't park it in the garage, did she?

16 A. No.

17 Q. And you didn't suggest to her when you were talking

18 about security that that might have been a sensible

19 thing to do, to use the garage?

20 A. No, her garage was full.

21 Q. It was full?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. It was one of those garages used as a store?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Sir, that is the hour mark. Would this be a convenient

 

 

38

 

1 moment?

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. That would be a convenient moment to

3 have our 10-minute break.

4 (11.15 am)

5 (Short break)

6 (11.31 am)

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips.

8 MR PHILLIPS: Mrs McCann, we were talking about the question

9 of Rosemary Nelson's security and you were offering your

10 view about a hypothetical situation; in other words,

11 what you think she would have done if certain events had

12 happened.

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Now, I assume you would accept, of course, that in the

15 end that would be a matter for her?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And if the Inquiry has material from her showing what

18 her attitude to these things were, that would obviously

19 be important, because it would show what she actually

20 thought rather than what you think she would have

21 thought?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Thank you very much. I want to find out from you how

24 serious your interest or concern about this aspect --

25 security -- was. You have talked to us about the

 

 

39

 

1 suggestion of her acquiring a similar car checking

2 device, for example?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And did it ever occur to you that this issue and her

5 attitude to it was something that you should raise with,

6 for example, other members of her family?

7 A. No.

8 Q. No. Why is that?

9 A. Rosemary and I -- that wasn't the sort of thing that

10 Rosemary and I talked about. We were more friends

11 than -- she didn't talk to me that much about work. It

12 was more social.

13 Q. But anyway, these conversations, the conversation you

14 had with her, that, as it were, remained with you?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. What I would like to look at now, please, in your

17 statement is paragraph 52, which starts on page

18 RNI-813-280 (displayed). Here, you describe for us

19 a very particular incident following, I think, a meeting

20 to do with the Garvaghy Road. Is that right?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, you say at the beginning of the paragraph:

23 "Although the parades take place in the summer ..."

24 Do you see this is the second line:

25 "... she had started work for the Garvaghy Road in

 

 

40

 

1 the run-up to the 1999 parade prior to her death."

2 I am assuming you included that in your statement

3 because it helps you to date what then happened?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Is that right?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Can I see whether you can assist in this. Do you think

8 that this event, which you describe in this paragraph,

9 took place in 1999?

10 A. It must have been. It must have been a meeting with the

11 Garvaghy Road residents about the Orange Order. They

12 must have been trying to get together to talk about it.

13 Q. Do you have any picture in your mind of when it might

14 have been?

15 A. No.

16 Q. No. Would this help? Do you remember she went to

17 Downing Street with the delegation from the Residents

18 Coalition?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. We know that was on 18th January 1999. Is there

21 anything about that that helps you to answer this

22 question: do you think it was before she went to

23 Downing Street or after?

24 A. I don't know.

25 Q. You can't recall?

 

 

41

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. Thank you. But you then describe what happened and how

3 she returned to the office after such a meeting?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And you went to see her in her room.

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Which we know was on the first floor of the building?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And had a window overlooking the street.

10 A. Hm-mm.

11 Q. Now, it was at that point, was it, in her room, she was

12 taking things out of her briefcase, that you had the

13 conversation which you describe for us?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. You say that she was not visibly upset. Is that right?

16 A. No, she had buzzed me and asked me to bring up a cup of

17 coffee. And I went in, she was taking papers out of her

18 briefcase.

19 Q. So as far as you could see, she wasn't visibly upset,

20 but did she then make the remark, as it were, out of the

21 blue?

22 A. No, she said she had just come back from a meeting with

23 the Garvaghy Road residents and the Garvaghy Road

24 residents -- someone had asked to meet Garvaghy Road

25 residents without Rosemary in attendance, but the

 

 

42

 

1 residents had asked Rosemary to attend anyway. And I

2 don't know who it was they were meeting, but the people

3 on the other side weren't happy that Rosemary had

4 arrived.

5 So when she come back, she had said the other

6 side -- I don't know if the meeting went ahead because

7 Rosemary had turned up and she just had the meeting with

8 the Garvaghy Road residents instead, but the other

9 people weren't happy.

10 Q. So it sounds then as though -- your understanding was

11 that she didn't go to the meeting, she didn't attend the

12 meeting with the other side, if I can put it that way?

13 A. She did go over to the Garvaghy Road to meet the

14 residents to go to the meeting, but when -- I think when

15 she got to the meeting and the other side that she was

16 meeting wouldn't have it because Rosemary was there.

17 That is what I took from it.

18 Q. So in what circumstances then did she feel that whatever

19 had happened at the meeting had led her to this view:

20 "They are going to do a Pat Finucane on me."

21 Did she explain that to you?

22 A. I said, "Why, what's wrong?" and she said, "They are not

23 happy, they aren't happy that I turned up."

24 Q. Who was "they"?

25 A. I don't know. I don't know who they were meeting, but

 

 

43

 

1 it was obviously something to do with the marching and

2 the Orange Order or whoever was representing them.

3 Q. Did she give you any further idea of why it was that she

4 had concluded "They are going to do a Pat Finucane on

5 me"?

6 A. No.

7 Q. But you understood her to be saying to you, "They are

8 going to murder me". Is that right?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And yet you say that she was not visibly upset?

11 A. When I went into the office, she wasn't, but when she

12 started to talk to me about it, yes, she was.

13 Q. How did you tell that?

14 A. How she was speaking. She was flustered, she had taken

15 her papers out, she was moving them about and she was

16 drinking her coffee.

17 Q. She was disturbed?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Was her voice shaky?

20 A. I don't remember that much.

21 Q. No. But what you say in your statement is that this is

22 the first time when, as far as you were aware, she was

23 concerned about her safety?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Do you think it might have been just the first time that

 

 

44

 

1 you saw her guard slip?

2 A. Yes, it was the first time that I had seen it.

3 Q. Yes. And that is why, is it, you say in your statement

4 she wasn't the sort of person to show her feelings and

5 often she just passed things off?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. But whatever had happened on this occasion she wasn't

8 able to do that?

9 A. That's right.

10 Q. And you had seen her feelings?

11 A. That's right.

12 Q. What you suggest in your statement later in this

13 paragraph is that that is why she asked you to come up

14 to her office: not just to make a cup of coffee for her

15 but to tell you?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And you didn't ask her, as you say in your statement at

18 paragraph 53 on page RNI-813-281 (displayed) -- you

19 didn't ask her for any more information or detail about

20 what had happened at the meeting?

21 A. No.

22 Q. And you have used this expression, "I didn't ask

23 Rosemary because I had no interest in this"?

24 A. I did not like to get involved in anything that went on

25 in the office, no.

 

 

45

 

1 Q. So it wasn't that you weren't concerned for her safety?

2 A. Oh, no, I didn't want to know anything that was

3 going on.

4 Q. You didn't want to know any more?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. But did it not occur to you at that point that if she

7 was so upset, she did feel so threatened, at that point

8 she should change her attitude to security, for example?

9 A. Yes, in hindsight, yes.

10 Q. With hindsight?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. But it is not something that you raised at the time?

13 A. No.

14 Q. When you had a chance, as you no doubt did, to think

15 about the conversation over the next hours and days, did

16 it not occur to you to go back to her and raise that

17 issue with her?

18 A. We did talk about it --

19 Q. Really?

20 A. -- that she would need to be more careful and that, but

21 even -- I was saying that to her: she needed to be more

22 careful. But again, I still drove her car, didn't look

23 underneath it, didn't think that I needed to check her

24 car, and no one was to say when there was going to be

25 a bomb under it.

 

 

46

 

1 Q. So there were follow-up conversations?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Discussing this question of the need to be more careful?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. But in fact, as far as you can remember, no changes were

6 made?

7 A. No.

8 Q. You followed your respective routines?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Including, as far as you know, her continuing in the way

11 that she had?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Thank you.

14 Now, just to complete this part of your evidence,

15 you have told us about this incident, you have told us

16 about the threat letter and you have told us about the

17 letters after her murder. In paragraph 72 on

18 page RNI-813-286 (displayed), you deal with the question

19 of other forms of threat and refer to a phone call which

20 was taken by Mr Vernon, and you don't recall the detail

21 of what was passed on in that call?

22 A. No.

23 Q. No. And is there any other incident of this kind, not

24 mentioned in your statement, that you can now remember

25 where a threatening message, a letter, a call, came into

 

 

47

 

1 the office?

2 A. No.

3 Q. Not that you can remember?

4 A. No.

5 Q. I would like to move now, please, to later in time,

6 in March 1999, and it is something you deal with

7 relatively briefly in your statement, but in much

8 greater detail in the statements you gave to the police.

9 It is about the servicing of Rosemary Nelson's car.

10 Can you look, please, at paragraph 78 --

11 RNI-813-287 -- at the bottom of the page (displayed).

12 You set out there, don't you, the fact that you dealt

13 with the servicing of the car?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And that there was a service at a local garage very

16 shortly before the murder?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And that section of your statement deals also with the

19 difficulties with the alarm --

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. -- system and takes us over to page RNI-813-289. Now,

22 I just want to show you a earlier statement, RNI-831-154

23 (displayed), a statement you made to the police on

24 15th June. And this statement, which runs on for four

25 pages, is, I think, entirely devoted to the story of the

 

 

48

 

1 car and its servicing on, as you say in the fourth line

2 there, 4th March.

3 Can I take it that the events that you describe

4 there in 1999 were obviously fresher in your mind than

5 they are now?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Thank you very much. You have had an opportunity to

8 read this statement, haven't you? Okay.

9 Dealing with the same question of events in the days

10 before the murder, can I now move up to the weekend.

11 You say in your statement, in paragraph 94, that:

12 "Rosemary Nelson's friend's car was parked on the

13 driveway of Rosemary Nelson's house all over the

14 weekend."

15 Sorry, it is at RNI-813-291 (displayed). Do you see

16 that in paragraph 94?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Is that something you noticed over the weekend?

19 A. Yes. I pass Rosemary's house every time I am coming out

20 of the drive.

21 Q. Yes, and you knew the car?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And you say in paragraph 95 that you remember being

24 telephoned by Rosemary Nelson on the Sunday evening

25 after she had returned from her weekend away?

 

 

49

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Now, Mrs McCann, you have dealt in this statement to the

3 Inquiry and in a number of other statements in detail

4 with the events immediately before the explosion and

5 afterwards, and I am not going to go into any detail on

6 most points with you now and deal with this as briefly

7 as I can.

8 The first thing I wanted to ask you about is about

9 Rosemary Nelson's handbag. You deal with this in

10 paragraph 107 of your statement on page RNI-813-294

11 (displayed). And you say that you remember it being in

12 the middle of the road and that you think Mr Nelson

13 picked up the handbag?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. After he had arrived at the scene?

16 A. Hm-mm.

17 Q. Because, as you explained to us, you were there before

18 him in fact. You say later on in your statement at 116,

19 on page RNI-813-296 (displayed):

20 "I must have taken Rosemary's handbag with me to the

21 hospital as Paul had given it to me to look after."

22 Do you see that sentence?

23 A. Hm-mm.

24 Q. Can you remember, did you hand the handbag over to

25 someone that evening?

 

 

50

 

1 A. I gave it to my husband to bring round to Rosemary's

2 sister's house.

3 Q. Did he do that, as far as you know?

4 A. He did.

5 Q. Which sister?

6 A. Bernie.

7 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you this question: was this

8 something that the police who came to interview you

9 asked you about?

10 A. About the handbag?

11 Q. Yes.

12 A. I think they asked me something about it.

13 Q. The reason I ask is because, as far as I can see, there

14 is no reference to it in your police witness statements.

15 Does that help you? Does it look as though they may not

16 have touched on this point with you?

17 A. I think they might have asked me where her bag was. I

18 don't know. I think they might have asked about the

19 letter as well: was it in her bag.

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. I said I didn't know what was in that bag, I just put it

22 into a carrier bag and asked my husband to bring it

23 round to Bernie's house.

24 Q. So this is the statement -- can we look, please, at

25 RNI-831-152 (displayed). That is the statement of

 

 

51

 

1 16th March which we saw a little earlier, about the

2 threat letter. Do you remember?

3 A. Hm-mm.

4 Q. And we looked at the first page. You described her

5 handing it over to you.

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. If you look over the page, at RNI-813-153 (displayed),

8 you say it is the only letter she ever showed you, and

9 you mention that she had told you that she had got

10 threats before, around July, Drumcree time, every year.

11 Then you talk about the threatening call that, again, we

12 have been over together.

13 So there is no reference to the handbag in this

14 statement other than in that context. But you think you

15 were asked about it by some of the police who came to

16 interview you?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Thank you very much.

19 The final matter I want to ask you about is in

20 paragraph 120 of your statement, and here you make

21 various comments about your police witness statements.

22 It is at RNI-813-297 (displayed). Do you see it?

23 At (a), for example, you deal with the friend's car,

24 Dara's car, and then at (b) you explain how

25 Rosemary Nelson's car was always parked. The thing

 

 

52

 

1 I wanted to ask you about is on the next page at

2 RNI-813-298 (displayed), because here at (e) and then at

3 (f) and the next few paragraphs, down to the bottom of

4 the page, you talk about a helicopter?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Now, what you say here is that you noticed a helicopter

7 hovering above the estate. Is that your development --

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. -- or the Kilwilke -- your development? On the evening

10 before?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. So the Sunday evening?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Now, what you say about it at the bottom of (h) is that

15 you didn't mention the helicopter to Rosemary Nelson

16 because you didn't think it was anything unusual?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. So this is -- the presence of helicopters overhead --

19 A. It is common practice.

20 Q. Common practice, and it was in March 1999, as far as you

21 remember?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Thank you.

24 Well, Mrs McCann, those are the questions that I had

25 for you. As I said, you no doubt heard, to Mr Leeson,

 

 

53

 

1 that remains for me to ask you this question, which is

2 whether there is anything that we haven't covered in

3 your evidence that you would like to say to the Inquiry

4 panel on the basis that it will assist them?

5 A. No.

6 Q. Thank you.

7 Questions by THE CHAIRMAN

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Mrs McCann, I think it was on about 4th March

9 you took Rosemary's car for servicing. That is about

10 ten days before she died. Is that right?

11 A. Yes.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Did you always take it, when you took it for

13 servicing, to the same garage?

14 A. To the dealership where it was bought.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: So you would know the people, at least by

16 sight, who ran the garage?

17 A. No, her car wasn't that old, this particular car. This

18 was her first BMW. So it was the first car at that

19 garage.

20 THE CHAIRMAN: But it was always the same garage?

21 A. Yes, but it was only brought for its first service.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Thank you very much for

23 coming to help us, Mrs McCann, thank you.

24 A. Okay.

25 THE CHAIRMAN: Right, we will break off for 10 minutes.

 

 

54

 

1 (11.59 am)

2 (Short break)

3 (12.07 pm)

4 MRS MARY LOUGHRAN (sworn)

5 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

6 MR PHILLIPS: Mrs Loughran, can you give me your full names,

7 please.

8 A. Mary Loughran.

9 Q. Dealing first, if I may, with the statements which

10 I hope you have in front of you, can we have, please, on

11 the screen next to you RNI-812-027 (displayed). That is

12 your witness statement. Do you see your signature at

13 RNI-813-013 (displayed) in the same file?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Dated 6th July. There was one other statement I want to

16 show you and it is at RNI-831-200 (displayed),

17 24th March 1999. This is the statement which is

18 exhibited to your Inquiry statement and that is

19 a statement you gave to the police, isn't it?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Can I just ask you this question: Am I right in

22 thinking that you gave a second statement to the police

23 later in 1999; do you remember that?

24 A. No.

25 Q. It is not one you have got, I know.

 

 

55

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. You do not remember that?

3 A. No.

4 Q. Thank you very much.

5 Getting back to your witness statement at

6 RNI-812-027 (displayed), can you just tell us first of

7 all what your current job is?

8 A. Legal secretary.

9 Q. You work for Mr McKee?

10 A. That is right.

11 Q. Who was himself employed in Rosemary Nelson's practice?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. So did you leave Rosemary Nelson's firm and join his

14 firm? Is that how it worked?

15 A. No.

16 Q. You had other employment?

17 A. I went to another solicitor's firm and then on to Ken's.

18 Q. So you have worked for a number of years, then, in

19 solicitors' firms?

20 A. That is right.

21 Q. When you joined Rosemary Nelson in January 1994, you say

22 in paragraph 1, who were you working for?

23 A. Rosemary.

24 Q. You were working for Rosemary Nelson herself?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

56

 

1 Q. And you were working as a legal secretary?

2 A. That is right.

3 Q. What work did you do in the practice?

4 A. Conveyancing at that stage.

5 Q. Were you responsible for maintaining the conveyancing

6 files for her?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Did you do most of the work?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Yes. She was a hands-off boss?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Yes. At that stage in 1994, how much experience as

13 a legal secretary had you had?

14 A. I had six years prior to that in another solicitor's

15 office.

16 Q. Doing similar sort of work?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. So you were happy, were you, to take on these

19 responsibilities at Rosemary Nelson's firm?

20 A. Yes, more or less.

21 Q. More or less?

22 A. Hm-mm.

23 Q. Had your previous employer been rather more hands-on?

24 A. Very much so.

25 Q. So you did the legal secretary's work, but there was

 

 

57

 

1 a lawyer there maintaining the files?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And that was one of the contrasts, wasn't it?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Between your previous experience and your experience at

6 Rosemary Nelson's firm?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Now, looking at the type of work that was done in the

9 firm when you joined it in January 1994, what sort of

10 cases came into the firm?

11 A. A lot of conveyancing and matrimonial work. That is

12 really all I would have seen.

13 Q. You didn't deal with the criminal cases?

14 A. No.

15 Q. If you look at paragraph 4 of your statement at

16 RNI-812-028 (displayed), can you help us: who was

17 involved in the matrimonial work?

18 A. Sharon Keeley would have been the main solicitor.

19 Q. And on the secretarial side?

20 A. Possibly Aine and maybe I touched on a bit of

21 matrimonial work myself as well.

22 Q. That's Aine Murray?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. At the time you joined, Mr McKee was working there.

25 What sort of work was he doing?

 

 

58

 

1 A. He done the claims.

2 Q. This was the civil claims?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And Rosemary Nelson herself, you say, dealt mainly with

5 the matrimonial side?

6 A. At that stage, yes.

7 Q. So the picture you paint then of the practice in early

8 1994 is of a practice with civil litigation, Mr McKee's

9 cases?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. With matrimonial work?

12 A. Hm-mm.

13 Q. With conveyancing, where you were very much in charge --

14 A. Hm-mm.

15 Q. -- by the sounds of things, but with no significant

16 criminal work?

17 A. No.

18 Q. Now, remind me, please, when did you leave the practice?

19 A. After Rosemary's death.

20 Q. Yes. So in that period of five years or so, did the

21 nature of the work coming into the firm change?

22 A. It changed in a way -- we didn't work on matrimonial

23 work full-time. Maybe we worked on that for a year and

24 then you would shift round to litigation or something.

25 But probably when the Duffy or the Garvaghy Road came

 

 

59

 

1 in, that is when it changed.

2 Q. Yes. We will look at that in more detail in a moment.

3 But are you saying then that if changes took place in

4 the practice, it was after those cases came in?

5 A. Yes, there probably was a lot of criminal work in it but

6 I didn't deal with criminal work, so I had no knowledge

7 of who was there, who was coming in or what have you.

8 Q. We heard yesterday, for example, from Mr Leeson who said

9 that he dealt with a lot of the small Magistrates' Court

10 criminal cases.

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Yes. What about the clients when you first arrived at

13 the firm? What was the client base of the practice?

14 A. Just more or less the same as my previous solicitor's

15 office. Just --

16 Q. What was that?

17 A. Just clients coming in for matrimonial litigation,

18 conveyancing and maybe summonses; people had summonses

19 with them as well.

20 Q. If you look at paragraph 3 of your statement at the

21 bottom of RNI-812-027 (displayed) -- one of, I am

22 afraid, the effects of the Inquiry's redaction policy is

23 that the name of your previous firm has been blacked out

24 but I can tell you that is what it is.

25 It says that your previous firm was:

 

 

60

 

1 "... a Catholic firm specialising in conveyancing

2 and litigation claims. By comparison, [then you refer

3 to it again] and Rosemary Nelson's firm were very

4 similar and there was no real difference in client

5 base."

6 So that means in terms of work then, does it,

7 conveyancing and litigation from a Catholic client base?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. That was the same client base, similar client base that

10 you found in Rosemary Nelson's firm?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And did that remain the same throughout your period

13 working at Rosemary Nelson's firm?

14 A. Yes, more or less.

15 Q. Were there some clients from the other part of the

16 community, if I can put it that way?

17 A. Oh, yes, in different areas, yes, with the house

18 purchases.

19 Q. But what you helpfully explain to us in paragraph 5 at

20 RNI-812-028 (displayed) is that Lurgan was

21 geographically divided; in other words, the top part,

22 you say, is Protestant and the bottom half is Catholic,

23 and Rosemary Nelson's firm was at the Catholic end of

24 town?

25 A. That is right.

 

 

61

 

1 Q. Can I ask you this question: Did the same apply to the

2 members of the staff? Were there Protestant members of

3 staff, as far as you are aware?

4 A. In our firm?

5 Q. Yes.

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Right. During the time you worked there?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Were the Catholic members of staff in the majority?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. But were there, for example, solicitors who worked in

12 the practice who were Protestants?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Thank you. Now, you describe where you worked in the

15 practice in the next paragraphs of your statement. It

16 looks as though the business expanded in terms of the

17 rooms that were occupied while you were there?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. So you started with a hairdressers on the ground floor

20 and eventually the firm took over that floor as well, so

21 it was on two floors?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And situated on the street, on William Street, and

24 Rosemary Nelson's office, as we have heard, was at the

25 front on the first floor?

 

 

62

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. With a window looking over the street. Thank you.

3 Now, where did you work?

4 A. I worked in the new place, where the hairdressers --

5 Q. On the ground floor?

6 A. On the ground floor.

7 Q. Yes. What you then go on to describe in your statement

8 is that during the time you were there the practice got

9 more and more busy; this is paragraph 9 on RNI-812-029

10 (displayed)?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And during that time, you became receptionist?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. So just so I am clear about this, was this a job which

15 you did instead of your legal secretary's job?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. So you abandoned the conveyancing work?

18 A. Hm-mm.

19 Q. And took on, as it were, the front of house?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Now, can you remember roughly when that happened?

22 A. Early 1998 maybe.

23 Q. What was it that made you make that shift, that change?

24 A. There was a member of staff left and then I was chose to

25 go to receptionist.

 

 

63

 

1 Q. So you filled in to take the place of a leaving member

2 of staff?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Can you remember who that was?

5 A. Christine Magee.

6 Q. Thank you. Who took over your work?

7 A. I am not sure. At that stage, Bernie Rogers was there

8 and then Annette was doing -- Annette Sheridan, she was

9 doing the full matrimonial work.

10 Q. Who was doing the conveyancing work you mentioned?

11 A. Bernadette Rogers.

12 Q. Thank you very much. Was she a solicitor or was she

13 another --

14 A. She was a secretary.

15 Q. Thank you.

16 What you set out for us is a practice which --

17 during the time you were there -- got busier and busier.

18 Is that fair?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And the impression one gets from your statement is that

21 everybody was permanently very busy?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. There was probably, wasn't there, too much work for

24 everybody to cope with?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

64

 

1 Q. And you describe how the waiting room was not only full

2 of people sitting down but also there were people who

3 had to stand?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Right. This, despite the fact that the appointments

6 which were fixed for clients lasted no more than

7 15 minutes?

8 A. 10 to 15 minutes, yes.

9 Q. Were there occasions when those appointments overran?

10 A. Oh, yes.

11 Q. Was that more common than not?

12 A. More common.

13 Q. But still the idea presumably was to keep a very regular

14 flow of clients in and out of the offices?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. But it obviously didn't work?

17 A. No.

18 Q. Hence the busy waiting room?

19 A. That is it.

20 Q. Your job, therefore, was to in some way marshal the

21 crowds in the waiting room. Is that right?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as your relationship with

24 Rosemary Nelson is concerned, what you tell us in your

25 statement is that you didn't know her particularly well

 

 

65

 

1 socially?

2 A. No.

3 Q. So you didn't spend much time with her outside work. Is

4 that right?

5 A. Yes, that is right.

6 Q. But there were other members of staff who did?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Who were they?

9 A. They would have been Nuala and Annette Sheridan.

10 Q. So they knew her better socially?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Now, what you describe in paragraph 12 of your

13 statement, the same page, RNI-812-029 (displayed), is

14 Rosemary Nelson's own routine, and you say that:

15 "During the period around her death, she didn't come

16 into the office to start work until around 11.30 to

17 12 o'clock. This was a regular occurrence."

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. That had not always been her working pattern, had it?

20 A. No.

21 Q. And you say in paragraph 14 at RNI-812-030 (displayed),

22 the next page, that when you first started at the

23 practice, so 1994, her hours were much more regular?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And you suggest that the change happened, the change in

 

 

66

 

1 her pattern of work, when she became involved in the

2 Garvaghy Road matter?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Can you give us an indication of the date when that

5 change occurred?

6 A. It would be about late 1997/1998.

7 Q. 1997/1998?

8 A. Hm-mm.

9 Q. So when you first arrived at the practice, she would

10 arrive at, let us say, 9, 9.30 --

11 A. Half nine, quarter to ten.

12 Q. Yes, and that changed to 11.30 to 12, you think,

13 1997/1998?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Thank you. Did she work late in the evenings?

16 A. Not that I am aware of.

17 Q. No. Well, you would have been there presumably at the

18 front of the building?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And you would have seen people coming --

21 A. Yes, we all used the lift together.

22 Q. Yes. At about 5 --

23 A. 5.30.

24 Q. Thank you.

25 Now, we heard earlier from Mrs McCann that she would

 

 

67

 

1 regularly go up to the house, to Rosemary Nelson's

2 house, with some files and then drive her down or they

3 would come down together in a taxi?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And that accords with your own recollection, does it?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. But you were not one of the people who would go to the

8 house?

9 A. No.

10 Q. Did Annette Sheridan sometimes go to the house?

11 A. Fairly early in the mornings, but Nuala would have went

12 more in the mornings now.

13 Q. Yes. We have heard also from Mrs McCann that in

14 addition to the work in the practice, she would run

15 errands, fill the car with petrol, do the shopping?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. That is something that you remember as well?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And again, was that something you were asked to do?

20 A. No.

21 Q. So far as you were aware, during the early part of the

22 morning when she would be at her house rather than at

23 the office, would she be working?

24 A. I am not sure.

25 Q. You don't know?

 

 

68

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. Did she sometimes have appointments outside the office

3 in the early part of the morning, do you know?

4 A. No, not that I am aware of.

5 Q. Would you have known about her appointments as the

6 receptionist?

7 A. Only the ones in the office.

8 Q. Yes. If there was presumably a book, a diary of some

9 kind in which appointments would be recorded?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And it was your job as receptionist presumably to

12 welcome the clients, seat them in the waiting room and

13 then make sure they made their way to the right office?

14 A. That is right.

15 Q. Where the solicitors and the legal secretaries would be

16 waiting to speak to them.

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Yes, and it was also your job presumably to answer the

19 phone?

20 A. That is right.

21 Q. There was one number, you tell us, but three lines?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Presumably that was as busy as the waiting room?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Thank you. I should have shown you a paragraph in your

 

 

69

 

1 statement when we were talking earlier about the client

2 base. Can I show it to you now: It is paragraph 15 at

3 RNI-813-030 (displayed):

4 "In respect of Rosemary's clients, there were a few

5 Protestants but mainly they were Catholics. Rosemary

6 would have taken on any case irrespective of

7 denomination. She was that type of person. She was

8 certainly not one to turn down work."

9 That is the way you see it?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Thank you.

12 Now, you have said to us earlier that you were not

13 as close to her as other members of staff but you do

14 give us an insight from your perspective into her

15 character, and I am looking now at paragraphs 34 and

16 following on page RNI-813-034 (displayed).

17 Do you see at the beginning of 34, you say:

18 "On the whole, Rosemary was always fairly high

19 spirited. There were occasions when she came into the

20 office and was clearly feeling down, but I would not

21 know the reasons and this is not something she would

22 have discussed with me anyway."

23 So in terms of talking through her feelings, any

24 reason she might have been feeling down, for example,

25 you wouldn't have discussed that with her yourself?

 

 

70

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. And then in 36 you talk about politics and say that to

3 your knowledge she attended no political meetings. Is

4 that right?

5 A. That is correct.

6 Q. Now, she did, as we have heard already, attend the

7 Residents Coalition meetings, didn't she?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. They had a political side, didn't they?

10 A. I suppose they did, yes.

11 Q. Yes. But as far as you were aware, she didn't put

12 herself up, as you say, for any political or other

13 elections. Did you ever hear her express political

14 views?

15 A. No.

16 Q. And were her political views ever discussed in the

17 office?

18 A. No.

19 Q. No. Right. I would like to ask you now about the

20 section of your statement in which you deal with the two

21 high profile cases: the Colin Duffy matter and the

22 Garvaghy Road case.

23 In paragraph 16 at RNI-812-030 (displayed), you say

24 that Colin Duffy was the first high profile client that

25 the practice had dealt with. And I assume you mean

 

 

71

 

1 there in the time that you worked there, since 1994?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And so it looks from your statement as though what you

4 remember is the first Colin Duffy case, namely the

5 murder of John Lyness, and you were, therefore, present,

6 were you, in the practice from the time when he was

7 serving a sentence in prison through to the appeal and

8 his subsequent release in 1996?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Can you remember now -- a long, long time ago, I know,

11 but can you remember now when you were first aware that

12 Rosemary Nelson was representing Colin Duffy?

13 A. He was already a client when I started my employment

14 with her.

15 Q. So he was already a client of the firm in 1994 when you

16 joined the firm?

17 A. Hm-mm.

18 Q. Thank you. And you say in paragraph 17:

19 "I know there are numerous solicitors who wouldn't

20 have got involved with Colin Duffy or similar clients,

21 maybe because they will not risk taking on that type of

22 work."

23 What do you mean by that?

24 A. That was just a talk between other secretaries and other

25 offices, that they said that no other solicitor,

 

 

72

 

1 I suppose, wanted to take on what he was being charged

2 with.

3 Q. Right.

4 A. You know, and the kind of person he was portrayed as.

5 Q. What kind of person was that?

6 A. A Republican.

7 Q. He was portrayed as a Republican?

8 A. Hm-mm.

9 Q. And that was generally the way in which he was regarded,

10 was it?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. As far as you were aware?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And so the conversations that you mention involved

15 people saying that firms would be anxious to take on

16 a client of that kind?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And that, as I understand what you are saying, was both

19 because of his reputation as a Republican but also

20 because of the nature of the offence?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, was that because people tended to identify the law

23 firms representing such clients with the clients?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And what effect did that have?

 

 

73

 

1 A. On Rosemary's practice, or ...?

2 Q. Yes.

3 A. It didn't have any effect because the other work carried

4 on; the conveyancing came in and the matrimonial, the

5 office carried on as normal.

6 Q. What do you think prompted the concerns in other firms?

7 What were they concerned would happen if they took on

8 such a case?

9 A. I don't know.

10 Q. But you don't think at any rate that there are -- well,

11 you say that there are a number of solicitors who

12 wouldn't have wanted a case of that kind?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Or a similar case?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And indeed you suggest that one of the things that was

17 discussed and that you had heard was that he had been

18 turned down as a client by other firms?

19 A. Yes. That was only hearsay. I never actually knew of

20 any firm.

21 Q. But obviously, if it was true, people were not just

22 concerned but acting on their concerns and refusing the

23 case?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And you say in terms of the reputation -- putting the

 

 

74

 

1 nature of the offence on one side -- the reputation --

2 that his local reputation, I think is what you are

3 saying, grew after his release from prison?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. So this is after his release on appeal in, I

6 think, September 1996?

7 A. Right.

8 Q. You said earlier that in terms of this firm and the

9 effect of the case on this firm, Rosemary Nelson's firm,

10 that the matrimonial, the conveyancing work continued,

11 but if you look at the beginning of your paragraph 17,

12 you say:

13 "It seemed from the point that she represented

14 Colin Duffy, anyone with a complaint against the

15 authorities started to come to Rosemary's practice."

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. So as far as you are observing it, this was a new

18 development?

19 A. To me, yes.

20 Q. A new type of case was coming through the door?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And the client base in this sense was changing, in that

23 people were coming in to make complaints against the

24 authorities?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

75

 

1 Q. Yes. So if this was the talk amongst the people you

2 were speaking to about the nature of this case, what was

3 your view at the time about the decision, which had

4 obviously been made, to represent him?

5 A. I did not have any views on it at all. I didn't -- he

6 just was a client to me.

7 Q. Now, you say that once he became a client, he was

8 a regular visitor to the offices and you say that in

9 paragraph 18 at the bottom of the page. Do you see

10 that?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And that he would sometimes come with his friends?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Two or three times a week?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Every week?

17 A. Yes, most weeks.

18 Q. Now, the friends were not themselves coming for their

19 own cases, I assume?

20 A. Some of the friends, they might have had files, summons

21 files or whatever.

22 Q. But I think what you are saying -- tell me if this is

23 correct -- is that when he would come for his own

24 appointments there might be other people with him?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

76

 

1 Q. Thus, presumably, increasing the pressure on the already

2 packed waiting room?

3 A. That is correct.

4 Q. And those visits continued, you say, even when his cases

5 had come to an end?

6 A. Yes, well, he was out of prison, so I don't know what

7 other work was carrying on because I didn't do any

8 typing, because I didn't know what was happening with

9 any files.

10 Q. After he had been released from prison he continued to

11 visit the office and you are not sure whether he had any

12 current cases on at that point?

13 A. No, I am not aware, no.

14 Q. And is that why you say in the penultimate sentence, at

15 the bottom of this page:

16 "I don't know why he continued to visit Rosemary's

17 office"?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. It sounds as though you have got used to him being

20 something of a fixture?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Yes. You are sitting there with your book of

23 appointments: Were there occasions when he would arrive

24 without an appointment?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

77

 

1 Q. Were those the majority of occasions?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Yes. From your perspective in the practice, was he as

4 a client and his case getting priority treatment?

5 A. At some stages I thought so.

6 Q. And you see in paragraph 19 at RNI-812-031 (displayed)

7 what your attitude, I think, at the time was, because

8 you say:

9 "Colin Duffy annoyed me as Rosemary wouldn't see any

10 other clients when he turned up."

11 A. That is right.

12 Q. So, as you point out, that made the appointments system

13 even more difficult to manage, presumably?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. So that he was given, as it were, priority?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Yes. And you had to make the necessary rearrangements

18 with other clients?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. So you took, as it were, the brunt of all of that?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Can I just ask you a question about the time after he

23 was released on appeal. Do you remember there being

24 a party in the office to mark his release?

25 A. A party?

 

 

78

 

1 Q. Yes.

2 A. No.

3 Q. Thank you.

4 Now, we know, of course, that the next year,

5 in June 1997, he was arrested and charged with the

6 murder of the two police officers in Lurgan?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Do you remember that incident?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. You were working in Lurgan at the time, obviously?

11 A. That is right.

12 Q. Can you remember what effect, what impact those murders

13 had on Lurgan?

14 A. I think everybody was just in total shock that that had

15 happened in broad daylight. It was horrific.

16 Q. Do you remember conversations of the kind you have

17 already talked to us about -- concern about representing

18 him -- taking place at that point?

19 A. No.

20 Q. No. Is that because you think he was already an

21 established client?

22 A. Probably, yes.

23 Q. And it was likely, therefore, that he would return to

24 the practice for his new matter?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

79

 

1 Q. Did you have any involvement in any of the legal work to

2 do with that case, the policemen murder case?

3 A. No.

4 Q. Thank you. Can we move on to look at the other matter,

5 the Garvaghy Road matter. In paragraph 21 of your

6 statement, you say that when Rosemary seemed to be

7 focused on the Garvaghy Road issues, things started to

8 change.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And it was at that point that the threatening calls

11 began?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Again, I am sorry to keep doing this but can you help us

14 with a date for that?

15 A. I think it was when she had gone to the Garvaghy Road in

16 around 1997.

17 Q. Yes. And you offered opinion in the same paragraph that

18 it was the Garvaghy Road, as you put it, the incidents,

19 that triggered the change in the practice, rather than

20 having Colin Duffy as a client?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Can I just ask you to explain why it is that that is

23 your view. What are the reasons?

24 A. Well, I did not take any calls or even heard of any

25 threats until the Garvaghy Road came on, when she was

 

 

80

 

1 a solicitor for Colin Duffy. I am not sure if she did

2 receive any threats, but I hadn't heard about them.

3 Q. You say the rising tension and the threatening calls are

4 associated in your mind with that case, rather than the

5 other one?

6 A. Yes, that is my opinion, yes.

7 Q. What you say about the Garvaghy Road case is that in due

8 course it came to take over the practice?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. This is paragraph 23 at the bottom of the page. And it

11 became the dominant case, both for the firm -- is that

12 right? -- and also for Rosemary Nelson herself?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Right. She went out to the Garvaghy Road a lot?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And she had frequent meetings with the Coalition and

17 with Mr Mac Cionnaith? And those were appointments

18 which you say didn't figure in the diary?

19 A. No.

20 Q. Is that because they took place elsewhere?

21 A. Most of the time. Sometimes Breandan Mac Cionnaith

22 would have come into the office.

23 Q. Without an appointment?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Were there ever appointments for Garvaghy Road matters

 

 

81

 

1 entered in the diary?

2 A. Yes, there were some clients from the Garvaghy Road in

3 the diary.

4 Q. Were those the clients who had complaints, for example?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And who later, some of them, made civil claims?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Right. But so far as the other type of work involving

9 the Coalition itself, were those appointments, meetings

10 with Mr Mac Cionnaith and others, were they recorded in

11 the diary that you can remember?

12 A. No, not that I can remember.

13 Q. No. You said, as I have mentioned, that this case

14 seemed to take over the practice and you also said that

15 it seemed to change the practice. Can I just ask you to

16 explain to us what do you mean by the change in the

17 practice?

18 A. I suppose a change just in the way that the files were

19 changing, that there weren't maybe so many road traffic

20 accidents, there were more of civil claims.

21 Q. So the old claims, for instance the claims dealt with by

22 Mr McKee, as you mentioned earlier, became of lesser

23 importance and these complaints or claims against

24 authority came to play a larger part?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

82

 

1 Q. Is that fair?

2 A. That is fair, yes.

3 Q. Was it that change in the balance of the work in the

4 practice that led to the firm being seen as a Republican

5 firm?

6 A. I would have said so, yes.

7 Q. And Rosemary Nelson herself seen as a Republican

8 solicitor?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Now, you say that in paragraph 24 on RNI-812-032

11 (displayed), and you also say:

12 "I do not think that this was intended to happen."

13 A. Hm-mm.

14 Q. So just so I have understood this, this is something

15 that just occurred?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Rather than being part of anybody's plan?

18 A. It wasn't a plan for her practice.

19 Q. Do you think that if it had been possible to do so,

20 Rosemary Nelson would have sought to avoid acquiring

21 a reputation?

22 A. I am not sure.

23 Q. You don't know?

24 A. I don't know.

25 Q. But certainly, as I understand your evidence, what you

 

 

83

 

1 are saying is that over time she acquired this

2 reputation?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. As a Republican solicitor?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And these are very, very difficult things to pin down,

7 I know, but are we talking about a year, two years,

8 before her murder or longer than that?

9 A. In my views it would have been from she took on from

10 1997.

11 Q. From 1997, thank you. And in relation to that year and

12 that case, you tell us in paragraph 25 that you were one

13 of the group who went down to the hall to take

14 statements. Is that right?

15 A. That is right, yes.

16 Q. And you say in paragraph 27 at the bottom of the page

17 that the staff wasn't given any instructs or guidance as

18 to how to go about that?

19 A. No.

20 Q. Have you ever done it before?

21 A. No.

22 Q. No. So the office decamped to St Mary's hall. Is that

23 right?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. All the residents were there?

 

 

84

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And you sat down and took statements as best you could?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Was that the limit of your involvement in those cases?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Thank you. And you obviously didn't want to go?

7 A. No.

8 Q. You didn't want to be there and you weren't happy to be

9 there?

10 A. No.

11 Q. And you asked whether you could be excused, effectively?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And what answer were you given?

14 A. No, you have to go.

15 Q. Did others express the same view, do you know?

16 A. I don't think anybody wanted to go because it was after

17 work. Everybody wanted to go home.

18 Q. So this was in the evening?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. But everybody did go?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. So this is a persuasive boss?

23 A. Hm-mm, yes.

24 Q. And the result of that exercise, as you say in

25 paragraph 27, was a great number of new complaint files.

 

 

85

 

1 I think Mrs McCann described it as being a filing

2 cabinet full of files?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Dozens of complaints. Is that right?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And one of the aspects of this, which you deal with in

7 your evidence -- and this is now paragraph 28 at

8 RNI-183-033 (displayed) -- is the effect of this on the

9 police. And you give your opinion that the police would

10 probably have been brassed off with the complaints

11 lodged.

12 So can I ask you to give us a little more help on

13 that? Why do you think they would have been brassed

14 off?

15 A. Probably because there were dozens and dozens of new

16 claims and the letters were following one after the

17 other. So whoever was dealing with that section would

18 probably say, well, there's another one.

19 Q. So they were being bombarded with clients?

20 A. Just with the post, that is what I meant.

21 Q. Somebody in a different context has used the expression

22 "carpet bombing". Is that what it was?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Thank you. Now, you did not concern yourself with the

25 questions of fee income or accounting within the

 

 

86

 

1 practice, did you?

2 A. No.

3 Q. That was very much Mrs McCann's territory?

4 A. That's right.

5 Q. So when you say in paragraph 29 you are not sure how the

6 complaints were funded, can I ask you: that is not an

7 issue that you would usually deal with as part of your

8 work anyway?

9 A. No, I wouldn't.

10 Q. And I don't suppose there was any discussion about that,

11 was there, at the time?

12 A. No.

13 Q. People didn't sit around in the office saying, "I wonder

14 how these complaints are being financed"?

15 A. No.

16 Q. There was an aspect of this which I would like you to

17 help me with, please, simply because I don't understand

18 the comment you have made. Do you see the last sentence

19 of paragraph 29? You say:

20 "The mistreatment complaints may have been done on

21 three forms."

22 A. I think it should be "these forms".

23 Q. Oh, "these forms". Thank you very much.

24 Before moving on to Rosemary Nelson's own experience

25 on the Garvaghy Road, can I just ask you about another

 

 

87

 

1 occasion when you were asked to head out in the evening.

2 Do you remember going to Portadown police station one

3 night to meet the people who were giving statements

4 about Robert Hamill's murder?

5 A. No.

6 Q. You don't?

7 A. No.

8 Q. Thank you. Coming back, then, to the Garvaghy Road

9 incident involving Rosemary Nelson herself, this is

10 paragraph 30 of your statement at RNI-813-033

11 (displayed), you say:

12 "I believe that Rosemary was roughed up when she

13 visited Garvaghy Road on this occasion."

14 So this is 1997:

15 "I cannot remember how I know this, but I do

16 remember hearing that she had been hit."

17 So it is not something that, first of all, she

18 discussed with you?

19 A. No.

20 Q. You must have heard about it from somebody else in the

21 office?

22 A. Yes, some other girls, yes.

23 Q. You didn't have any conversation with her yourself about

24 the incident at the time?

25 A. No.

 

 

88

 

1 Q. And did you know at the time that she had been injured?

2 A. Only through the talk in the office.

3 Q. I am so sorry?

4 A. Only through the talk in the office.

5 Q. Yes. And you didn't see any evidence of bruising or

6 injury on her yourself?

7 A. No.

8 Q. Thank you. Can you take a look, please, at RNI-831-200

9 (displayed).

10 We looked at this a little earlier, if you remember.

11 This is the statement you gave to the police on

12 24th March, and that was clearly much closer in time to

13 the incident in 1997 that you have mentioned. So I

14 would like to look at it now. Do you see about ten

15 lines down a sentence which begins:

16 "I can also recall ..."

17 Do you see that on the screen?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And if you just read on from there, you say:

20 "I can also recall Mrs Nelson telling me four times

21 during Garvaghy Road 1996 or 1997 when she approached

22 police lines on the Garvaghy Road, the offices had their

23 numbers covered and refused to give her their ranks or

24 numbers. They called her names and I believe she was

25 struck at that time as well."

 

 

89

 

1 Thinking about it now, is that, as it were, the sum

2 total of what you knew about the incident in March 1999?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And are you now more confident that it took place, this

5 incident, in 1997?

6 A. Yes, it must have.

7 Q. Yes. Now, going back to your statement to the Inquiry

8 at RNI-812-033 (displayed), you deal with the effect of

9 the Garvaghy Road work on other lawyers at the firm and

10 you say, for example, that if she was out of the

11 office -- this is the second sentence:

12 "... her appointment book would just say that she

13 was not in."

14 And that other solicitors, the other lawyers working

15 there, would have to take on the meetings?

16 A. Yes, that is correct.

17 Q. I just want to ask you about that. When you talked

18 earlier about who was working in the practice, I am not

19 sure how many of the people you mentioned were

20 solicitors, but by the time of Rosemary Nelson's murder,

21 am I right in thinking that there was only one other

22 solicitor, Mr Vernon?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. So presumably if this continued during the time when he

25 was the sole other lawyer, it would have added

 

 

90

 

1 considerably to the burden on him?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And in that sense also the Garvaghy Road work she was

4 doing, the time she was spending on it, had an impact on

5 the firm?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Thank you. And you say that:

8 "In periods of high activity, these Garvaghy Road

9 clients ..."

10 I assume it must be:

11 "... called at any time of day or night and perhaps

12 they took advantage of her, and this was a general

13 feeling I heard around the office."

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. That was something talked about at the time?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. That her willingness to help was being exploited. Is

18 that fair?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. By people who would call on her when it suited them, no

21 matter what time of the day or night?

22 A. That is right.

23 Q. Yes. But so far as the staff was concerned, what you

24 say is it all happened quite gradually?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

91

 

1 Q. And as you put it, there was no real impact. Just to be

2 clear about that, the various things you have said in

3 your evidence suggest that there was a real impact. Is

4 it that it happened gradually rather than all at one

5 moment?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Is that the point you are making?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Thank you. Sir, would that be a convenient moment?

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly. 2 o'clock, please, Mrs Loughran.

11 (1.00 pm)

12 (The short adjournment)

13 (2.00 pm)

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips.

15 MR PHILLIPS: Now, Mrs Loughran, before lunch we were

16 looking at the effect, as you saw it, of the

17 Garvaghy Road case in particular on the practice. Can

18 you look, please, at paragraph 21 of your statement at

19 RNI-812-031 of the file (displayed). Do you remember

20 I read out to you the third sentence, which was:

21 "It was certainly at this point that threatening

22 calls started and tension rose."

23 And we discussed together the question of change in

24 the practice. Can I just ask you about the part of that

25 sentence, "tension rose"? How did that manifest itself

 

 

92

 

1 in the office?

2 A. I think in the office it was fine, but it was just maybe

3 that Rosemary was called out a wee bit more and she

4 wasn't there for the other clients.

5 Q. When you say tension rose, you do not mean the

6 atmosphere within the office became more tense?

7 A. Oh, no.

8 Q. What was the atmosphere like in the office?

9 A. Everyone just got on with their work.

10 Q. Perfectly friendly?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. That atmosphere wasn't affected, you say, by the change

13 in the practice?

14 A. No.

15 Q. It didn't become an apprehensive atmosphere within the

16 office?

17 A. No.

18 Q. People weren't concerned about the fact that they were

19 working there?

20 A. No.

21 Q. No. Thank you.

22 The next part of your evidence I would like to look

23 at begins on page RNI-812-034, which is paragraph 39,

24 under the heading "Threats" (displayed). Thank you.

25 Here you describe a telephone call which obviously

 

 

93

 

1 frightened you?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. You can't -- I think this is right -- remember exactly

4 when it took place?

5 A. No.

6 Q. Can you help us perhaps to the nearest year?

7 A. I know that Pat Vernon was working there at that time.

8 Q. So does that make it more likely to be in, say, the

9 18 months before Rosemary Nelson's murder?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Tell us what happened, as you remember it.

12 A. I just remember a phone call coming through and somebody

13 says they are looking to speak to Rosemary or to get

14 a message to Rosemary and just tell her to let her know

15 that we will be there and we will be policing the

16 marching, the Garvaghy Road. I can't really remember

17 exactly what was said.

18 Q. Is it likely therefore that it took place, the call, at

19 the time of the one of the marches, the Drumcree

20 marches?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. So in the summer, perhaps, of 1998?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Thank you. So what you say is that you passed the call

25 on to Mr Vernon?

 

 

94

 

1 A. That is correct.

2 Q. And he dealt with it?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. As far as I can see from your statement, he just took it

5 in his stride. He shrugged it off. Is that right?

6 A. Yes. I did ask him about it afterwards. I just said

7 who was that or what was it all about and he went

8 (indicates). He gave no conversation at all about it.

9 Q. He didn't give you any more detail?

10 A. No.

11 Q. But did his own reaction help to put your mind at ease?

12 A. Yes, because it didn't seem to annoy him so I wasn't too

13 annoyed about it.

14 Q. So you didn't carry on feeling frightened?

15 A. No.

16 Q. Did you discuss the call with Rosemary Nelson?

17 A. Yes, sorry, I can't remember if I told Rosemary directly

18 or if Pat Vernon told Rosemary directly.

19 Q. Now, in paragraph 41 of your statement at RNI-812-035

20 (displayed) you refer to another incident, and you say

21 in the third line:

22 "I cannot now remember the words the caller used."

23 But you refer to your earlier statement. That is

24 the statement to the police, isn't it?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

95

 

1 Q. Can we have a look at that then, please, at RNI-831-200

2 (displayed). If we go over, please, to RNI-831-201

3 (displayed), if you see about seven lines down on this

4 page there is a sentence beginning:

5 "More recently ..."

6 Do you see that sentence?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. "More recently, about six weeks ago, I can't be more

9 precise ..."

10 Just to remind you, this is six weeks ago before

11 24th March 1999:

12 "... I answered an incoming call on the switchboard.

13 The caller was male. His voice sounded like he was in

14 his thirties. He had a local accent. He asked for

15 Rosemary. I asked him who was calling. He said

16 something like 'That doesn't concern you' or 'It doesn't

17 matter, just tell Rosemary this' ..."

18 As I understand it, what you then set out in the

19 statement, beginning "the LVF," is what you remember him

20 saying?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. This is what you remember in March 1999?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Now, did you understand what he meant by the expression

25 "the Blue Platoons"?

 

 

96

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. Did anybody ever help you to understand that expression?

3 A. No.

4 Q. So it remains a mystery for you to this day?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. But again, once he had mentioned the LVF/UVF, as I

7 understand it, at that point, you, as you say, panicked

8 a bit?

9 A. Hm-mm.

10 Q. Put him on hold and, again, put the call through to

11 Mr Vernon?

12 A. That is correct.

13 Q. Because, again, Mrs Nelson wasn't in the office?

14 A. That is right.

15 Q. Right. Now, you were the person who answered the

16 telephone?

17 A. That's right.

18 Q. At the office?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And as I understand it, before the murder, these are the

21 two calls that you remember?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Right. And again, can I ask you about Mr Vernon's

24 reaction to it? How did he speak about it afterwards?

25 A. He didn't.

 

 

97

 

1 Q. He didn't?

2 A. No.

3 Q. So again, can we take it, as far as you can see, that he

4 had simply taken it in his stride and shrugged it off?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. But it had an impact on you?

7 A. At the time, yes.

8 Q. Did it make you think that there were people out there

9 who were threatening Rosemary Nelson?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And on the basis of what you had heard in the telephone

12 call, did you think that those threats should be taken

13 seriously?

14 A. Certainly, yes.

15 Q. So did you raise this question with Rosemary Nelson

16 yourself?

17 A. I had told her that I took a telephone conversation but

18 to speak to Pat about it because he finished it off.

19 Q. When you gave her that information, how did she react?

20 A. She didn't show me any reaction at all.

21 Q. Right. Now, you probably heard me asking Mrs McCann

22 this, but do you think that in dealing with these sorts

23 of events, Mrs Nelson was keeping up appearances,

24 keeping up a front?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

98

 

1 Q. Yes. So that her real feelings might have been rather

2 different?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. At any point during the time you were working for her

5 did you get a glimpse of what her real feelings might be

6 about such threats?

7 A. No.

8 Q. No. What you say in your statement is that after this

9 call -- this is paragraph 42 on the same page,

10 RNI-812-035 (displayed). Do you see paragraph 42? You

11 don't know whether Rosemary took the call seriously:

12 "She did not tell me what I should do if a similar

13 call were to be made again in the future."

14 A. That's right.

15 Q. You were, in that sense, left to work it out for

16 yourself?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Did Mr Vernon give you any suggestions of that kind?

19 A. No.

20 Q. No. Now, the next matter you deal with in your

21 statement that I would like to ask you just a few

22 questions about is what you call the evacuation

23 incident, and you see you deal with this beginning at

24 paragraph 43 (displayed).

25 Again, I would like to start with trying to work out

 

 

99

 

1 the likely date of it. Can you look at your police

2 statement, which is at RNI-831-200 (displayed). Right

3 at the bottom of this page -- it is right at the very

4 bottom of the page -- do you see:

5 "About 18 months ago ..."

6 Sorry, three lines up:

7 "About 18 months ago, there was a white van ..."

8 Do you see that sentence?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. "... abandoned a Lurgan police station, which supposedly

11 contained a bomb."

12 If you look at the remainder of the page and go over

13 to the next page, RNI-821-201 (displayed), you describe

14 how everyone else in the street was evacuated but you

15 were not?

16 A. That is right.

17 Q. So it sounds, therefore, doesn't it, as though this must

18 have taken place in the autumn,

19 perhaps October/November, maybe slightly later, of 1997?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. 18 months before the day you made the statement

22 in March 1999.

23 Do you remember this particular event today?

24 A. Yes, parts of it, yes.

25 Q. How did you discover that you were the only building

 

 

100

 

1 which had not being evacuated?

2 A. Clients had went out, had left the office after seeing

3 the solicitor and come back in and said yous better get

4 out, the whole of William Street's evacuated.

5 Q. So a client came back in to tell you the news?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Did you all leave the office then?

8 A. Yes, everyone left the office.

9 Q. Were you given any explanation?

10 A. No.

11 Q. What happened when you came presumably towards the

12 police officers who were waiting outside?

13 A. Nothing. I think Rosemary went down and asked one of

14 the police officers why were we not told to leave the

15 premises and I think he just shrugged her off or made

16 cheeky remarks to her.

17 Q. But you weren't there to hear --

18 A. No, we were just at the far side on the footpath.

19 Q. Did any explanation for that ever make its way through

20 to you?

21 A. No.

22 Q. But you give it in your statement -- this is

23 paragraph 46 at RNI-821-036 (displayed) -- as an example

24 of animosity between Rosemary Nelson and the police. Is

25 that right?

 

 

101

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And was that something that you observed on other

3 occasions, animosity between the police and

4 Rosemary Nelson?

5 A. Not that I witnessed myself but what we had heard, what

6 had happened to her if she approached anyone on the

7 Garvaghy Road or if there was any trouble anywhere else.

8 Q. So the incidents you are talking about, you didn't

9 witness any of them?

10 A. No.

11 Q. But they included, did they, the Garvaghy Road incident

12 you have talked about this morning?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Is this an example then, the evacuation incident?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Are there any others that you can think of?

17 A. No, none that I can think of.

18 Q. Thank you. But in paragraph 47, bringing all this

19 together and confirming what you said earlier, as far as

20 you were concerned, you were quite happy to work at the

21 office; it didn't concern you, the security aspect of

22 this?

23 A. No.

24 Q. If you had a reason why you might have thought of

25 leaving, it was a completely different reason. Is that

 

 

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1 right?

2 A. That is right, yes.

3 Q. Is that because you were overworked?

4 A. Probably, yes.

5 Q. Right. But in fact you didn't leave?

6 A. No.

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

8 murder?

9 A. That is right.

10 Q. Yes.

11 Now, you give evidence in your statement about the

12 day itself, and I don't want to go over that save in

13 a couple of respects. If you look at the bottom of

14 page RNI-821-037, please, paragraph 58, you talk there

15 about the question of the handbag, and you say:

16 "The issue of who had taken Rosemary's handbag did

17 not come up until after the day of her death."

18 Can you remember how it came up, the issue?

19 A. Not really. Not unless when we all went back into work

20 afterwards they were asking the question, "Does anyone

21 know what happened to Rosemary's handbag".

22 Q. Were you told the answer to that question?

23 A. No, no one knew.

24 Q. But you say at the top of the next page, RNI-812-038

25 (displayed) that you did not see Mr Nelson take the

 

 

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1 handbag from the scene?

2 A. That is right.

3 Q. Thank you. And nor did you see neither her sisters nor

4 her mother and father take the handbag?

5 A. No.

6 Q. Thank you. Now, the final matter I want to ask you

7 about is what happened to the practice after her death.

8 You describe this in paragraphs 59 to the end of the

9 statement. You carried on working?

10 A. That is right.

11 Q. It was understood -- is that right? -- that the business

12 would be sold?

13 A. That is correct.

14 Q. You believe that one firm considered buying it but in

15 fact it wasn't sold?

16 A. No, that is right.

17 Q. But the practice was taken over, wasn't it, by

18 PJ McGrory?

19 A. That is right.

20 Q. And the staff carried on working for how long, can you

21 remember?

22 A. Three to six months, maybe.

23 Q. You will have heard me ask this question of Mrs McCann,

24 Mrs Loughran, but if there is any matter that we haven't

25 covered which you would like to raise about the issues

 

 

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1 in the Inquiry, which you would like the Panel to hear,

2 now is your chance.

3 A. No, that is fine.

4 Q. Thank you.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Mrs Loughran, thank you very much for coming

6 to help us in our inquiry. Good afternoon.

7 A. Good afternoon, thank you.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: We will rise for 10 minutes.

9 (2.19 pm)

10 (Short break)

11 (2.30 pm)

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips.

13 MR EMMET SHERIDAN (sworn)

14 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

15 MR PHILLIPS: Mr Sheridan, would you first give us your full

16 names, please.

17 A. Emmet Martin Sheridan.

18 Q. Thank you. I hope you have with you a copy of your

19 statement to the Inquiry?

20 A. Hm-mm.

21 Q. Can we get it up on the screen for you, the screen on

22 your left there. It is RNI-820-050. If we turn over to

23 RNI-820-056 (displayed), do we see there your signature

24 and the date of 30th May?

25 A. Correct.

 

 

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1 Q. Now, Mr Sheridan, you were a friend of Rosemary Nelson?

2 A. Correct.

3 Q. You didn't work for her practice but your wife Annette

4 did?

5 A. Correct.

6 Q. As you explain in your first paragraph, you knew her not

7 only as a result of your wife working for the practice

8 but also because you socialised with her outside work?

9 A. Correct.

10 Q. And you would see her, as you put it, on a regular basis

11 with your wife?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And go along to the office outings?

14 A. Hm-mm.

15 Q. And as far as you were concerned, Rosemary Nelson was

16 a very sociable person?

17 A. Correct.

18 Q. Your socialising would occasionally take you away with

19 Mrs Nelson's family, including to Donegal where they had

20 the mobile home we have heard about already?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Although, as you say in paragraph 5, which is

23 RNI-820-051 (displayed), on at least one occasion she

24 wasn't able to join you because she was too busy?

25 A. Correct.

 

 

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1 Q. That being in July when the big march in Drumcree was

2 taking place?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Now, from that perspective, can I just ask you some

5 questions about how you regarded Rosemary Nelson and her

6 work.

7 You tell us in your statement at paragraph 3 that

8 she acted for both sides of the community. That was

9 your understanding?

10 A. Correct.

11 Q. And did you glean that from speaking to her yourself or

12 from what your wife had told you?

13 A. From what my wife had told me.

14 Q. Thank you. And the examples you give is that not only

15 did she represent people on the street but also divorces

16 for policemen and that kind of thing?

17 A. That is what I believe, yes.

18 Q. Yes. Then you give a rather interesting explanation for

19 that and you suggest that if you don't want people to

20 know what you are up to, you go to a lawyer in the other

21 community?

22 A. That is correct. It is something that I believed was

23 happening in Lurgan -- it is the first I have ever heard

24 of it -- that if you going to do any dirty washing you

25 don't do it in your own neighbourhood. It is just

 

 

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1 a local kind of thing I had gathered.

2 Q. You had heard about that from other people?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. So just to be clear what you mean here, if you were part

5 of the Catholic or Nationalist community, you would

6 instruct a lawyer on the other side --

7 A. I have heard of that, yes.

8 Q. You have not experienced that yourself?

9 A. Not experienced it, no. I wouldn't be in that position.

10 Q. No, thank you. Now, in the course of your statement you

11 give various examples that you had obviously learned

12 from your wife of the sort of work she used to do for

13 Rosemary Nelson?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. I would like to take you through just a few of them.

16 The first thing I want to ask you about, which we have

17 heard from other witnesses, is that some members of

18 staff certainly would undertake work for Rosemary Nelson

19 which was of more of a domestic rather than legal kind,

20 including, for instance, doing shopping and running

21 errands. Is that something your wife used to do?

22 A. On a fairly small scale, yes. Rosemary had certain

23 requests, yes.

24 Q. So that, as it were, the domestic tasks came into the

25 work context?

 

 

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1 A. Domestic in what respect? In running her own household?

2 Q. Yes.

3 A. No.

4 Q. No.

5 A. Just as regards, maybe, one memory I would have is that

6 Annette would tell me she would maybe have to run across

7 the road for a bottle of cough medicine.

8 Q. Small errands?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. In paragraph 16 at RNI-820-053 (displayed), you give an

11 example of a time that your wife had to serve a summons

12 or something like that on Lindsay Robb. That was

13 something she was asked to do by Rosemary Nelson?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And you say there was a lot of publicity surrounding

16 him. Do you mean at the time she was asked to serve the

17 summons there was a lot of publicity surrounding him?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. So he was a well-known figure?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Is that after the Colin Duffy/John Lyness murder case

22 had become well-known?

23 A. I believe it was, yes, because he worked alongside me

24 and the subject never really come up about him giving

25 evidence under witness C, or whatever. It wasn't

 

 

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1 a particular case that -- the chronology I am not

2 100 per cent on, but I do know my wife come down and

3 served a summons, I believe, to him.

4 Q. He worked alongside you at the Lurgan Mail?

5 A. That is correct.

6 Q. And she obviously -- your wife, this is -- mentioned it

7 to you that she had been asked to do that?

8 A. Yes, because she didn't have access to our building

9 which was secure keyed.

10 Q. Was that something she was happy to undertake, as far as

11 you remember?

12 A. I think she would probably be a little bit apprehensious

13 of it because obviously with the -- I think it was

14 already public knowledge then whose witness he actually

15 was in this case.

16 Q. So did you share her concerns?

17 A. In serving a summons and knowing that Mr Robb had

18 a personal protection weapon possibly on him at the

19 time, no, I didn't think she was at any particular risk.

20 But, yes, there was a certain feeling of apprehension

21 there, some odd excitement. I don't know how you would

22 describe it. Not necessarily worry.

23 Q. In the event, did she perform the task --

24 A. She did, that is correct.

25 Q. Yes. You give another rather striking example of this

 

 

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1 in paragraph 17, the next paragraph, where she

2 apparently had been asked by Rosemary Nelson to go out

3 to measure the feet of someone accused of a terrorist

4 offence. Before I ask you some other questions about

5 this, how did this come up, the need for the measurement

6 of feet? Can you remember?

7 A. It was an issue in the case.

8 Q. Right. And she was asked to undertake this task

9 presumably at the accused's house. Is that right?

10 A. No, it was taking place in a shopping centre in Newry.

11 So it would be verified by a measuring machine

12 et cetera, for gathering evidence, I believe.

13 Q. And her first reaction -- that is your wife's first

14 reaction -- was to say, "No, I am not going to do this"?

15 A. That is right.

16 Q. Then she changed her mind. Can you remember why she

17 changed her mind?

18 A. I think Rosie probably tried to put her mind at ease as

19 to what was actually going on. It was a very tense time

20 in Northern Ireland at the time. Although my wife

21 wasn't particularly news aware of what was going on, she

22 was aware of the tension at the time, that she was going

23 down to assist in gathering evidence in a possible

24 alleged terrorist case.

25 Q. When you say it was a tense time in Northern Ireland,

 

 

111

 

1 can you give us any help as to when this occurred, what

2 year it occurred?

3 A. It is always very hard, it's almost ten years ago, or

4 thereabouts. I think it was 1997/1998. That is only

5 a very rough guess. Getting the exact time, I would

6 have to look up the date of the actual case.

7 Q. You say that she changed her mind when Rosemary Nelson

8 had tried to put her as ease about it?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. So she agreed to do it?

11 A. She did.

12 Q. But you say in paragraph 17 that you went along with

13 her?

14 A. That is correct, yes.

15 Q. And it is obvious, I think, from the statement that you

16 were still concerned but you went along because you

17 didn't want her to be in any danger?

18 A. Correct.

19 Q. So you both went to the shopping centre and Annette did

20 what had been asked of her?

21 A. Correct.

22 Q. The other matter I wanted to ask you about to see

23 whether you recall it, although you don't mention it in

24 your statement, is in relation to one of the Colin Duffy

25 cases, the second one, not the one we have just

 

 

112

 

1 discussed but the one in which he was accused of the

2 murder of two policemen in Lurgan. Am I right in

3 thinking that at some point your wife was asked to stand

4 surety for him in the proceedings?

5 A. What's surety?

6 Q. To put up money for bail.

7 A. I am sure she would have consulted me on that matter.

8 Q. Do you remember her consulting you?

9 A. No, she never approached me about that.

10 Q. You have no recollection of that at all?

11 A. I have not, no.

12 Q. You don't remember her discussing with you any question

13 about Colin Duffy's bail?

14 A. When the matter first came to me, it was when Peter

15 Jones, who interviewed me on the evidence gathering task

16 that he had been set by the Inquiry -- Annette had,

17 I believe, mentioned this in her statement, although the

18 issue of finance wouldn't have -- we couldn't have done

19 anything about any financial side of an issue on Rosie's

20 behalf. I don't know why that was asked, to be quite

21 honest.

22 Q. Do you mean by that that you wouldn't have been in

23 a position financially to put up any money?

24 A. I don't think I really would have liked to have been

25 getting involved in it at any level.

 

 

113

 

1 Q. That is really what I was --

2 A. That is fair enough.

3 Q. Had you been asked by your wife, you would have said

4 that you didn't think she should get involved?

5 A. Certainly, yes.

6 Q. When Mr Jones raised this with you, were you surprised

7 to hear that the request had been made?

8 A. Not really, no. As regards its legal implications,

9 I wouldn't be aware of those but just as a financial

10 one. Rosemary asked Annette many things. This is just

11 another one of them.

12 Q. Are there any others that you can think of now, types of

13 work that she was asked to do for Rosemary Nelson, which

14 fit into this category, the category of things we have

15 just been talking about?

16 A. No, I think I have covered most of the fairly important

17 ones.

18 Q. Thank you.

19 Now, when you were out socialising with

20 Rosemary Nelson, did she discuss her work with you?

21 A. Not work in general, just -- I think the point you are

22 leading to is probably something to do with the

23 conversation we had in the Stables?

24 Q. Yes. That is exactly it. And it is in your statement.

25 It begins, the passage, at paragraph 6, if you look at

 

 

114

 

1 RNI-820-051 (displayed), the page, under the heading

2 "Relationship with the RUC". There you deal with

3 various points at which you were made aware and in

4 particular the conversation in the Stables Bar, and as I

5 understand it, this took place at Christmas time in

6 1998. Is that right?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Was it in the evening or during the day?

9 A. Evening time.

10 Q. And was this an office outing?

11 A. It was indeed.

12 Q. Was it the Christmas party?

13 A. It was one of them, yes.

14 Q. One of a number of Christmas parties?

15 A. One of which I was invited to, you know. Others took

16 place where I wasn't invited.

17 Q. So you had had your meal in the evening and you were

18 going to the bar for some drinks?

19 A. We were moving from the eating area to the seated area

20 and I had arrived with a few coats and Rosie was already

21 sitting down.

22 Q. And did the conversation which you then describe in your

23 statement take place with just the two of you present or

24 were there other people there?

25 A. They were arriving bit by bit. It was quite like a big

 

 

115

 

1 sitting situation we were coming into, and Rosie was in

2 one corner and some of the girls were arriving on the

3 left, and Rosie was already in one corner. And I had

4 gone over to her, being the only person in that bay, and

5 sat down beside her and started chatting to her.

6 Q. You describe in paragraph 8 how she sat down opposite

7 you:

8 "... a little way from the others and told me that

9 she was sure she was going to be killed."

10 A. That is correct.

11 Q. Now, did she just make the comment out of the blue like

12 that?

13 A. I approached the seating area and sat down, and I said,

14 "Rosie, how is it going?" and with her usual dry wit she

15 replied, "Have you no television, Emmett?", which means

16 it was absolutely highlighted on television and stuff

17 like that. So I kind of smirked about it and said,

18 "What is it, Rosie?" and she just went on to state about

19 her relationship with Mr Flanagan and what she felt was

20 going on.

21 Q. So the comment about the television was -- so I have got

22 this correctly -- she was saying if you have been

23 watching the television you will have known what the

24 answer to that question is?

25 A. Yes, that was what was more prevalent in her mind. Mine

 

 

116

 

1 was very general, "How are you doing, Rosie?" but she

2 was actually in the moment at the time after the

3 proximity talks, conciliation talks, whatever they may

4 have been, so that was obviously at the forefront of her

5 mind.

6 Q. So the answer to the question what she had been doing,

7 how she was getting on, was you should have been able to

8 pick that up from the news?

9 A. Yes, that is her dry wit, yes.

10 Q. In relation to the specific comment at the bottom of the

11 page, can you now remember -- it is a very along time

12 ago, I know -- what the words were that she used?

13 A. My recollection of it was -- the words were -- alone,

14 they were stark and the words were to the effect of,

15 "Ronnie hates me, they are going to get me". When I say

16 "they are going to get me", I am struggling to recollect

17 any more accurate -- who they were and what was meant by

18 "get me", just my recollection, understanding of what

19 she had said at the time, that she would be killed.

20 Q. So she didn't actually use the words "they are going to

21 kill me", she used the words "they are going to get me"?

22 A. And that is what "get me" -- I took out of the

23 conversation "get me" meant.

24 Q. And so these words were uttered in the circumstances you

25 have described, just sitting there in the middle of this

 

 

117

 

1 office party. Were you surprised that she was confiding

2 in you in this way?

3 A. Not really.

4 Q. Had she done it before?

5 A. Not about any matters like this. She would have -- if

6 the occasion had come up, it was just me and Rosemary

7 sitting talking together. It would not be anything as

8 serious as this would come up. I knew she had received

9 death threats previously. This was one she, at that

10 moment in time, decided to share with me.

11 Q. So you knew -- is this right? -- from your wife that she

12 had received death threats?

13 A. In speaking to my wife after even the statements were

14 made, I recollected that Annette had actually brought

15 the death threats home with her and showed them to me.

16 And I can't remember any of the actual writing, the

17 word-for-word verbatim or anything like that, but I do

18 remember the talk of a bullet. It wasn't in this folder

19 or package that it came in. There was a very

20 ordinary -- I think it may have been a blue sheet of

21 paper with handwriting on it which indicated her death,

22 and then another piece of paper a bit more like a --

23 a typical death threat, bits of paper chopped together

24 creating a very sinister message, but amateur-looking

25 thrown together piece of paper.

 

 

118

 

1 Q. Just so I am clear about this, you now recollect, do

2 you, that your wife brought home, as it were, a file of

3 material like this?

4 A. Yes, and my wife doesn't recollect this.

5 Q. Did she explain why she had brought it home?

6 A. I think she wanted to show me. My wife was very, very

7 concerned at this, obviously. The level of seriousness,

8 we never -- we didn't want to believe possibly. And

9 then this material showing up was, you know,

10 confirmation something was going on. There was phone

11 calls to the house. I know her son received a call or

12 her daughter, I am not sure exactly who. But there were

13 other calls made to the business and to the home.

14 Q. As far as you can remember, the moment at which your

15 wife brought home the file, was that after --

16 A. It was some time before.

17 Q. It was some time before the Christmas party?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. So if that is right, then it, as it were, put the

20 comment that Rosemary Nelson made to you at the party in

21 some form of context, did it?

22 A. Hm-mm.

23 Q. You must have been very shocked to see all this material

24 gathered together in a file?

25 A. Oh, yes.

 

 

119

 

1 Q. And when you were being interviewed by Eversheds and

2 thinking about these matters, why is it, do you think,

3 that you didn't mention it in your witness statement?

4 A. It wasn't even on -- in my mind at the time. It just

5 didn't appear. There were many, many things and many,

6 many conversations I have had with my wife since that

7 statement, and hearing other people talking about it

8 triggers things in your memory that come back and go,

9 oh, my goodness, that is true, that is what was going on

10 at the time.

11 Q. That is why I am asking you really, because part of the

12 problem is that memory does play tricks on us and

13 sometimes if you hear somebody recounting their

14 experience you can think of it as your own.

15 A. Absolutely. My wife, if you asked her now, probably

16 still wouldn't believe that that was the truth, but

17 I remember they were actually behind -- we had to hide

18 them behind the bed such was the fear of having these

19 incredible documents, and just going ...

20 Q. What puzzles me is why Rosemary Nelson would have given

21 them to your wife to bring home?

22 A. I don't know if she did or didn't. Annette arrived home

23 with them and said, "Emmett, see this". I looked and

24 said, "Oh, my God".

25 Q. Why did she want to show them to you?

 

 

120

 

1 A. I have no idea. We were friends and something you might

2 want to share those.

3 Q. But if you had seen all this material gathered together,

4 presumably you would have come to worry greatly about

5 the place in which your wife was working?

6 A. Oh, yes.

7 Q. Did you suggest to her that she ought on move on?

8 A. Because of a terrorist threat? The country would be

9 quite empty if we all obeyed terrorist threats.

10 Q. So although you were very worried about what was set out

11 in the file, you didn't suggest that your wife should

12 take up a job somewhere else?

13 A. My wife is fairly strong-minded and she would have

14 decided herself. It would probably have been seen as an

15 act of abandonment on that issue if she had left at that

16 time, because her and Rosemary were such good friends.

17 And if -- in retrospect, if Annette had have left

18 Rosemary's office at that point and then gone on to have

19 died, on a very personal level it would have seemed like

20 an act of abandonment; getting out of here and leaving

21 her to her death.

22 Q. She stayed out of loyalty?

23 A. I believe so. I don't know how often she would have

24 questioned it. I am sure she was worried. She would

25 have expressed worry to me on occasions about matters

 

 

121

 

1 like that.

2 Q. Whether based on what you had seen in the file or based

3 on what you were told at Christmas, did you fear for

4 Rosemary Nelson's safety?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. You did?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And because you knew her and you were a friend of hers,

9 presumably you therefore discussed with her what she

10 could do to protect herself?

11 A. Yes, that was in the next couple of sentences after

12 "they are going to get me". Yes, we did discuss that.

13 Q. What did you suggest to her?

14 A. Looking at security issues and stuff like that, but

15 I didn't feel it appropriate to say to her, "Go to the

16 RUC and seek any --

17 Q. What you are recalling for us now is that in this same

18 conversation in the Stables, you discussed with her the

19 question of her personal security?

20 A. Yes, as regards -- if I could just read my own ...

21 (Pause)

22 She made the comment about the TV cameras installed

23 on top of traffic lights, and in a vain attempt to calm

24 these fears, I suggested, "Don't worry about that, you

25 are probably bugged already". She was concerned about

 

 

122

 

1 that kind of thing.

2 Q. We will come to that in a minute, but what I am really

3 getting at is what you discussed with her about ways in

4 which she might protect herself?

5 A. I think methods weren't really the issue, it was more

6 like who. I says, "Who can you actually turn to?" and I

7 think it was just a wordless expression of hands-up, who

8 can you go to. I know she went to the UN and the

9 US Congress appealing for help, but she didn't feel it

10 appropriate to ...

11 Q. Just to be clear on what you are saying now, when the

12 issue came up and the question of who might give her

13 advice, presumably, she raised her hands like that

14 (indicates) as if to say, "Well, there isn't anybody".

15 Can we just look on in your statement, please, to

16 paragraph 23 on page RNI-820-504 (displayed), because

17 there you do deal with the question of security and you

18 make various comments about it.

19 As I understand it, what you are saying to us today

20 is that there was a discussion -- it may have been

21 a brief one -- about security at the time of the

22 Christmas party in the Stables Bar?

23 A. That is correct.

24 Q. Do you accept, as I think you must, that it is not

25 something you refer to in the statement?

 

 

123

 

1 A. That is correct.

2 Q. Thank you. So you have remembered it since making the

3 statement?

4 A. It becomes ever clearer the more time ...

5 Q. Let us just look through, if we may, at the security

6 section. You say:

7 "Although various people suggested that Rosemary

8 have security installed ..."

9 That is the first thing you say. Do I take it,

10 therefore, that you include yourself amongst them?

11 A. Well, if you want to take it as I asked Rosie the

12 question, "What are you going to do, have you security

13 at the house?" I can't honestly remember what her

14 direct answer was, but it is not my impression that

15 there was any reasonable security that would have

16 protected her here from this.

17 This was a car bomb, so high security was not going

18 to be protected from that and there was no real way of

19 protecting her if she was going to continue working in

20 these circumstances.

21 Q. I understand that. So let me ask you this: who did you

22 have in mind when you said "various people"?

23 A. I think her own circle of friends at the time. Exactly

24 who, I don't recall, but I do know that other friends in

25 her circle would have spoken to her about it and trying

 

 

124

 

1 to help.

2 Q. Is that something you knew at the time?

3 A. At the time of the statement?

4 Q. Yes.

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. But is it something you knew, for example, when you had

7 the conversation in the bar at Christmas 1998?

8 A. I would have known something of that, but the names of

9 the people that may have discussed it with her I wasn't

10 that clear on.

11 Q. So it looks, so far as the various people are concerned,

12 that this is information which came to you second or

13 third hand. Is that fair?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And what you are clear on is that she didn't have

16 security installed?

17 A. Not that I am aware of.

18 Q. And the next point you make in this same sentence is you

19 don't think it would have made any difference anyway?

20 A. That is correct.

21 Q. By which I assume you mean that it wouldn't have

22 protected her?

23 A. Correct.

24 Q. Then you say:

25 "She simply wanted a response from the security

 

 

125

 

1 forces to the threats that were being made against her,

2 an acknowledgment, if you like, of the treatment she was

3 receiving and the pressure that that treatment put her

4 under."

5 Are you saying there that she raised her personal

6 security with the security forces, as you put it there?

7 Is that what you are saying?

8 A. I have no evidence of paperwork on that.

9 Q. No.

10 A. But it would be my thought, as I say -- I think she

11 wanted a response from them of some description.

12 Whether she would have to make that application in

13 writing or not, I am not aware of, or verbally or how

14 that would be obtained.

15 Q. But when you put it in this way:

16 "She simply wanted a response ..."

17 What I understood was what you were saying was that

18 for her the important thing was that she raised the

19 concerns, not that she was actually expecting help. Is

20 that what you are saying?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Right. And you seem to put that in context in the next

23 paragraph, in 24. You say that you think the security

24 issue was partly in response to Breandan Mac Cionnaith

25 getting protection. She thought, "Let's see what can be

 

 

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1 done". Then:

2 "Rosemary knew that if they still wanted to get her,

3 they would get her."

4 Is that based on something she said to you?

5 A. That is based on her vulnerability at any time. I mean,

6 home security -- she wasn't always at home, she was at

7 work, she was outside.

8 Q. So that her way of life, the way she carried on her life

9 made her vulnerable. Is that what you are saying?

10 A. Yes, in that respect. She didn't go and hide anywhere

11 because of this.

12 Q. Are you aware that she made any changes to her way of

13 life, to her pattern of living at any time before she

14 died?

15 A. I don't know of any, no.

16 Q. No. The next thing you say in this paragraph is:

17 "I think she would also have had great difficulty in

18 accepting an RUC officer stood at her door as

19 protection."

20 Now, again, is that based on something she said to

21 you, that you discussed with her?

22 A. Well, after being beaten to the ground on the

23 Garvaghy Road by them, I don't think she really wanted

24 them close to her.

25 Q. So this reaction of hers was part, was it, of her

 

 

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1 general attitude towards the police?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And that, in your view, was set in stone, was it, after

4 that incident on the Garvaghy Road?

5 A. How do you mean "set in stone" now?

6 Q. That it became a fixed attitude after she had been, as

7 you say, beaten to the ground.

8 A. Fixed or otherwise, I don't know if she could be swayed

9 on that point. Unfortunately, she didn't live long

10 enough to change her mind.

11 Q. So I am clear about this, are you saying to us that

12 based on your knowledge of her, if the RUC had offered

13 her assistance or protection, she would have been

14 unwilling to accept it?

15 A. It would have -- it is an interesting question, but we

16 never got to that point. So how could she accept

17 something that was never offered.

18 Q. I am asking you, of course, a hypothetical question but

19 based on what you know of her, or knew of her, and on

20 what discussions you had with her, whether you think she

21 would have been willing to accept advice or assistance

22 from the police?

23 A. We will never know that, unfortunately.

24 Q. You are not prepared to --

25 A. Speculate?

 

 

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1 Q. You're not prepared to speculate?

2 A. On that issue, for her personally I think it would be

3 wrong for me to speculate on her behalf.

4 Q. Because, you see, what you say in your statement in the

5 next two paragraphs is that it was clear to you at any

6 rate that she was afraid, and at the beginning of

7 paragraph 26:

8 "She knew she was going to be killed."

9 Again, I have to ask you: is that an understanding

10 you have based on anything she said to you?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And do you have in mind what she said in the Stables

13 Bar?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Did she make a similar comment to you at any other time?

16 A. No.

17 Q. So you interpreted -- because we are now going back to

18 the Stables Bar event, which you deal with in

19 paragraph 9 and following -- you interpreted what she

20 was saying -- "they are going to get me" -- as being her

21 telling you that she felt she was going to be killed?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Did you understand by whom she expected to be killed?

24 A. Which organisation, or do you mean whom as an

25 individual?

 

 

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1 Q. Whom.

2 A. I don't believe that she would be able to say or know

3 the names and addresses of those people, no. But she

4 just knew that she was going to be killed.

5 Q. Are you able to help us with which organisation you

6 believe she had in mind?

7 A. Well, again, that would be speculation. Unfortunately,

8 we can't ask Rosie who she thought it was. I mean,

9 like -- I heard her say the words, "Ronnie hates me,

10 they are going to kill me", effectively, which was the

11 "get me". That is what I took out of it.

12 Q. You made the link, as we can see from your statement,

13 didn't you, between the reference to Ronnie and the next

14 sentence, "They are going to get me"?

15 A. Yes, that is the perception that Rosie had. That is

16 what she gave to me. I am not trying to build any

17 picture here. I am just listening to what Rosie said.

18 Q. As you were sitting there in the Stables Bar at

19 Christmas 1998, you understood her to be telling you

20 that she thought the police would get her?

21 A. That the forces that are out there were going to get

22 her, whether they be joined with paramilitaries or

23 whatever; the who and where weren't specified. I mean,

24 who would know specifically who exactly was doing it?

25 Q. In paragraph 10, you elaborate on this and say that you

 

 

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1 knew there was a history with Ronnie Flanagan, and then

2 you give an example of a meeting. How had you heard

3 about that meeting?

4 A. It was again in the night in the bar. Rosie had just

5 been back fairly recently. I don't remember the last

6 time I had seen her before the Stables do -- that things

7 weren't going particularly well with Ronnie and that is

8 why she said that it was her opinion that he hated her.

9 Q. So other than what was said during that conversation at

10 the Stables Bar, did you hear about the history, as you

11 put it, from any other source, at any time before the

12 murder?

13 A. No.

14 Q. No. So that was the sum total of the information you

15 had?

16 A. Correct.

17 Q. Thank you. Now, you give your views in paragraph 6 and

18 following -- this is the previous page, RNI-820-503

19 (displayed) -- about her relationship with the police.

20 And to use an expression that another witness has used,

21 it seems you also thought there was no love lost between

22 her and the police. Is that fair?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And she obviously told you -- or you heard from her and

25 the girls from the office, as you put it -- about the

 

 

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1 verbal abuse she said she had encountered in her

2 dealings with the police?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Was that on this particular occasion or on other

5 occasions? How did that come to your attention?

6 A. There was an occasion, I think, that Mary Loughran

7 alluded to about the time that we were not evacuated

8 from the building. And at that time, it had come to me

9 through my wife that comments had been made in a similar

10 fashion, that it wasn't -- they were -- their perception

11 of the situation was they were being put in danger being

12 left alone in the building with a potential bomb at the

13 police station.

14 Q. But you obviously yourself didn't witness any of this

15 behaviour?

16 A. No.

17 Q. You heard about it second-hand?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Does the same apply to the other matters you refer to in

20 paragraph 6, where abuse and abusive comments were

21 apparently made: you weren't present yourself?

22 A. That is correct, I wasn't there.

23 Q. And you can't help us with any detail of any such --

24 A. No.

25 Q. -- events. No.

 

 

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1 Paragraph 7 is where you begin to tell us in your

2 evidence about the effect this might have had on her.

3 And what you say is that:

4 "She tried to give the impression ..."

5 Is that right, that she took all of this in her

6 stride but that deep down comments of that kind did hurt

7 her?

8 A. I couldn't imagine anything different.

9 Q. No. As we see later in your evidence, your view as

10 a friend was that this led to stress in her work. Is

11 that right?

12 A. I think beneath it all, yes, there was probably somebody

13 under a great deal of stress and worry. But as regards

14 the continuation of her general conduct, I don't believe

15 it actually affected her.

16 Q. But you as a friend were able to see the effects of

17 this, the toll it was taking on her?

18 A. My wife, before the murder, would come home and say

19 Rosemary is looking as if she had lost weight. It was

20 an indication that maybe she wasn't eating properly and

21 stuff like that. This is a concern.

22 Q. You say in paragraph 13 on RNI-820-052 (displayed):

23 "Work did have a detrimental effect on her family

24 and social life. I remember in the last couple of years

25 you could tell she was living on edge and burning the

 

 

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1 candle at both ends."

2 As I understand it, what you are saying is your

3 impression was she was working very, very hard and that

4 the effect of her work was getting to her?

5 A. I would imagine it would have been, yes, that was my

6 personal opinion. I was trying to put myself in her

7 place to feel what she was feeling.

8 Q. And do you think it was that sense of pressure building

9 on her that led her to make the comment to you about the

10 CCTV camera outside the office?

11 A. Well, it was a fact that they were actually putting new

12 traffic lights in, and that comment was made at that

13 time. So -- and the front window, I believe, of her

14 office is visible from the RUC station across the road.

15 Q. But did she make that comment to you in a light-hearted

16 spirit or was she being serious?

17 A. No, I think she was quite serious. She didn't really

18 appreciate me dismissing it with a "you are bugged

19 anyway".

20 Q. You were trying to lighten the mood?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Did she take that in good part?

23 A. I think she was okay about it. That was when I was

24 trying to raise her up a bit, but ...

25 Q. Now, the comment you made about the office being bugged,

 

 

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1 that was a light-hearted comment?

2 A. Oh, yes.

3 Q. There was nothing you knew to suggest that it was

4 correct?

5 A. Absolutely not.

6 Q. And presumably the same applies to the CCTV camera. You

7 had no basis for thinking it was actually trained on her

8 office?

9 A. No.

10 Q. No. Now, as a friend, seeing the impact on her of her

11 work, did you, other than in the conversation you have

12 just described at the Stables, did you think that

13 something should be done to ease the strain on her and

14 did you talk to her about that?

15 A. It was only very briefly after that first comment in

16 paragraph 9, what can be done, Rosie, and the

17 conversation did end fairly abruptly because other

18 people were starting to arrive and it was not

19 appropriate to keep on talking about that kind of thing.

20 I said what are you going to do. I think I actually

21 said, "Where can you go now", and again, that was the

22 expression she give me: She wasn't sure. I know she

23 had -- went to the UN and the US to try and show her

24 problems to the rest of the world.

25 Q. Can I just be clear: When you said, "Where can you go

 

 

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1 now", did you mean --

2 A. For help.

3 Q. For help?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Right. Now, you say in paragraph 11 in this very

6 context that she was seen as representing Republicans

7 and this made her a target, and that was your view at

8 the time, was it?

9 A. That was something that I believed that certain parts

10 of -- elements in Northern Ireland were of the

11 opinion of.

12 Q. So that lawyers representing Republicans were regarded

13 as targets?

14 A. In certain instances, yes.

15 Q. And do you think she was more likely to be regarded in

16 this way because of the particular work she did and the

17 place she did it, in Lurgan?

18 A. Others would have took that attitude. I have no opinion

19 on who she does it for. It's got nothing to do with me.

20 Q. Now, in connection with that type of work, you deal with

21 it under the heading "High Profile Cases" in

22 paragraph 14. And you say in the next paragraph, 15,

23 that:

24 "She wasn't just the terrorists' solicitor, as she

25 may have been perceived by some people."

 

 

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1 Do you mean by that that she carried on doing other

2 types of work?

3 A. Oh, yes.

4 Q. And it is clear from the second sentence that the

5 attention the high profile cases needed meant that

6 others in the practice had to do most of the other work.

7 Was that your understanding at the time?

8 A. I imagine it would be quite time consuming taking on

9 cases of that nature.

10 Q. Yes, but that she had trust in the people who worked for

11 her, as you say?

12 A. That is correct.

13 Q. And they got on and dealt with the day-to-day cases?

14 A. Correct.

15 Q. And did they include your wife?

16 A. That is right.

17 Q. So that understanding, that information, comes very much

18 from her, does it?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Thank you. Now, can I ask you briefly about the

21 Garvaghy Road incident in July 1997? How did you come

22 to know about it?

23 A. My wife Annette had told me that Rosie had sustained

24 bruises and a beating.

25 Q. Did you see them for yourself?

 

 

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1 A. No.

2 Q. You say in paragraph 19 that you weren't present on the

3 road yourself; top of page RNI-820-054 (displayed).

4 That's right, is it?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And you have just told us you didn't see the apparent

7 effects of the assault, but you do say in paragraph 20

8 you think that Rosemary Nelson did get photographs taken

9 of the bruises. What is that view based on, please?

10 A. That was something my wife would have told me on her

11 arrival home.

12 Q. So again, it is not something you knew for yourself, it

13 is based on information passed on?

14 A. That is correct, yes.

15 Q. Thank you. But no doubt you do remember your wife and

16 everybody else in the office going down to the hall and

17 taking statements from the residents for their

18 complaints?

19 A. I have a vague recollection of that, yes.

20 Q. Yes, that is all I have to ask you, Mr Sheridan, save to

21 ask you the question you have probably heard me ask

22 other witnesses: if there is any other matter in your

23 evidence that we haven't discussed but that you would

24 like to raise with the Inquiry panel, please do so now.

25 Is there any such matter?

 

 

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1 A. No, thank you.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr Sheridan, for coming today to

3 give evidence to us. Thank you.

4 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, can I say by way of housekeeping that

5 that is, I am afraid, the end of the evidence I have for

6 you today.

7 Tomorrow morning, we have Mr Campbell and then

8 Bernadette Bradshaw, and again, I am afraid it hasn't

9 been possible to arrange further witnesses tomorrow, but

10 we have Ita McCrory on Friday morning. And we have also

11 now handed out this morning the timetable for next week,

12 and can I just say a word about that.

13 It is a mixed week in terms of the subject matter of

14 the evidence. The first three witnesses are media

15 witnesses, representatives of the media. We then have

16 during the course of the week a number of lawyers

17 practising in Northern Ireland at the relevant time. In

18 addition, we have a Foreign Office witness, Mr Wells,

19 who is going to give evidence about a particular point

20 relating to the Cumaraswamy episode. Then we have

21 Rosemary Nelson's brother on Wednesday, and finally

22 Mr Mageean of CAJ on Friday morning.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. We will adjourn until quarter

24 past ten tomorrow.

25 (3.23 pm)

 

 

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1 (The Inquiry adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)

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MRS NUALA MCCANN (continued) ..................... 1
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS (continued) ......... 1
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Questions by THE CHAIRMAN .................... 53
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MRS MARY LOUGHRAN (sworn) ........................ 54
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 54
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MR EMMET SHERIDAN (sworn) ........................ 104
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 104
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