world : Ex-officer jailed for perverting justice over killing

world : Ex-officer jailed for perverting justice over killing
world : Ex-officer jailed for perverting justice over killing

Friday 14 June 2024 10:30 PM

Nafeza 2 world - Mr Hamill's murder was the subject of a public inquiry, because it was alleged that police officers were positioned in the police vehicle but did not intervene.

In 2004 the then Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy announced the terms of reference for the inquiry into the death of Mr Hamill.

That inquiry ran for 77 days between 13 January and 17 December 2009.

However, the report from the inquiry will not be published until the conclusion of any legal proceedings.

Allister Hanvey was one of six people later charged with murder but this charge was later withdrawn due to insufficient evidence.

Mr Hedworth said that police had received information that Atkinson had tipped Mr Hanvey off about the investigation. He was interviewed about it at the time and denied making the call.

The court heard that subsequent enquiries revealed a call had been made at 08:37 and that a second call was made a week later.

Mr Hedworth had told the court that Atkinson "was interviewed again and gave an explanation".

Mr Hedworth said: "He said a young couple, Andrea and Michael McKee, had been staying at his house and that Michael McKee had called the Hanvey home to enquire about the wellbeing of his niece – Hanvey’s girlfriend - because he had heard ‘about a commotion the night before’."

The court heard that the second call related to a discussion about martial arts.

The court heard that at the time, this version of events had been supported by the McKees but after their marriage broke down Ms McKee provided a fresh statement in 2000 saying they had not been in the house and that Atkinson had asked for a cover story.

Mr McKee then agreed that this second statement was correct. Both Andrea and Michael McKee were convicted in May 2002.

In mitigation, Atkinson’s defence barrister Barry Gibson KC had said that the court had not established what the content of the call was, that there had been a 27-year gap since the offence and that Atkinson's health was poor.

On Friday, judge Patrick Lynch KC said the court could draw inferences from the failure to disclose what the exact nature of the call was.

“It is a disgrace that you, as a serving police officer, should stoop so low as to deliberately mislead an investigation which you knew concerned a serious assault that you had witnessed," he said.

"Ultimately it turned into a murder inquiry in which a son of the household you contacted was a suspect.

“The public are entitled to the highest degree of probity in those entrusted to police and enforce the law.

"You have been a disgrace to your uniform and have continued to serve as a police officer for years afterwards as a criminal - for there is no other description for you."

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