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8 April 1999 Edition

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RUC incompetence exposed

by Laura Friel

Calls for a totally independent investigation into the murder of Lurgan solicitor Rosemary Nelson continue as further RUC incompetence is exposed. Promises by the force to carry out a full and rigorous investigation were unmasked as fanciful last week, when it was revealed that the wrong date and telephone number appeared on an appeal for information put out by the RUC. A faxed appeal from the RUC seeking information on the movement of vehicles in the Lurgan area just prior to the Nelson killing, dated Sunday as ``the 13th''. The Sunday in question actually fell on March 14. The astonishing blunder was further compounded as telephone callers rang the number supplied by the RUC murder inquiry team to alert them of the error, only to be told by a British Telecom answering service that the number had been discontinued. This latest example of careless errors follows hard on the heels of a damning report by the Independent Commission for Police Complaints (ICPC), recently leaked to the media. The report exposed members of the RUC tasked with investigating complaints made by Rosemary Nelson of harassment by the fiorce, including death threats before her murder, as deliberately obstructive and dismissive. The inability and unwillingness of the RUC to investigate Rosemary Nelson's complaints led the ICPC, which was acting in a supervisory role, to request that the RUC be pulled off the case. Metropolitan Police Chief Niall Mulvilhill, together with a team of his own officers, took over the investigation from the RUC.
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