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4 March 2004 Edition

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RUC members seek compensation over Hamill murder

Two RUC members who were on duty in a Land Rover when Portadown Catholic Robert Hamill was attacked by a 30-strong gang of loyalists in 1997, are seeking compensation from the NIO for injuries they claim to have suffered on the night.

The two RUC members were among the crew in the vehicle in Portadown town centre on 27 April 1997 and who failed to act during the assault on Hamill, which saw the 25-year-old father of two fatally wounded. Hamill never regained consciousness and died 12 days later, on 8 May, in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital.

It has now emerged that the pair, one of whom has since left the PSNI, are seeking damages for injuries they claim they received during the events of that night. The specific nature of the claims may be made public when they go before the courts in the coming weeks.

Six men were originally charged with the Hamill murder, however these charges were later dropped. One of the six was later convicted of the lesser charge of causing an affray and was freed from prison in 1999. That same year, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) ruled that RUC members on duty that night would not face any charges.

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