Lagan Valley MLA Jonathan Craig has demanded to know whether a so-called ‘on-the-runs’ letter has been issued to anyone suspected of the murder of his cousin, who was killed in the Newry police station bombing in 1985.
Mr Craig, who is also a member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, said he wanted to see the Historical Enquiry Team’s file on the mortar bomb attack which killed nine police officers, including his cousin Geoffrey Campbell.
“It is something that is difficult to forget,” said Mr Craig. “It obviously had a huge impact on my family and I will be insisting that the case is properly investigated.
“I will be demanding to know whether or not one of these so-called ‘on-the-runs’ letters was issued to anyone suspected of the Newry bombing which killed my cousin, a full time police reservist, as well as eight other police officers.
“At this point in time I have received no assurances that the person who may have murdered him did not receive one of these ‘on-the-run’ letters and that absolutely outrages me.”
He continued: “I do have growing fears that in my case, and that of others, investigations into murders by republicans may have been impacted by the ‘on-the-run’ letters.
Mr Craig said he had concerns about the procedures being undertaken by the Historical Enquiries Team, which is based in Hillsborough, and said it was vital that cases were reviewed as a matter of urgency.
“Her Majesty’s Inspectorate looked into specifically soldiers cases and it was pointed out that procedures were not being followed,” continued Mr Craig.
“There is a code against which all police investigations are measured and the inspectorate said that code was not followed properly.
“Because of that, the Chief Constable is going to have a cold case review squad look at cases being handled by the HET and I will be pressing that team to closely examine all cases, including the murder of my cousin.
“I will be demanding that a much more rigorous approach is taken so that all cases that involved ‘on-the-runs’ are investigated by the cold case review team.
“Cases must be reviewed and if there is any further evidence whereby those people can be brought to justice, then let’s see charges being brought and people convicted for their crimes,” he concluded.