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23 January 2003 Edition

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RUC negligent over Sinn Fein office attack

Two people wounded in the attack by RUC man Allen Moore on the Falls Road offices of Sinn Féin in 1992 had their claim for compensation against the then RUC supremo Hugh Annesley settled in Belfast's HIgh Court on Monday 13 January.

Moore, 24, from Ballymena, killed three people, Pat McBride, Paddy Loughran and Michael O'Dwyer in the offices, before driving to the shores of Lough Neagh, where his body was found some hours later.

Barrister Seamus Treacy told the Belfast Court that Moore had fired shots over a colleague's grave in Comber, County Down, before other RUC members disarmed him and took him to Newtownards RUC barracks, where he appeared drunk, emotional and aggressive.

He talked by phone to a colleague at Armagh and talked about shooting republican suspects, but was allowed to leave Newtownards RUC station with another officer, who was warned by his superior, "don't let him out of your sight".

On Tuesday 4 February 1992 Moore, armed with a shotgun, entered the Sinn Féin offices and shot and killed Paddy Loughran, Pat McBride and Michael O'Dwyer and seriously wounded Pat Wilson and Nora Larkin.

Wilson was shot in the chest at close range with a powerful cartridge filled with glass and pellets.

Wilson and Larkin claimed the RUC boss at the time, Hugh Annesley, had behaved negligently in failing to detain and disarm Moore, who did not have his psychiatric and physical condition assessed before the attack.

An 1997 ruling that the RUC had no duty of care to the victims of the attack was later overruled.

Speaking to An Phoblacht before the case was settled, Pat Wilson said that the importance of the case was to get the RUC to accept that it bore some responsibility for Moore's actions.

"The RUC tried to disown Moore's action and claimed they had no duty of care to those he killed and injured. We want the court to find that the RUC was negligent in the way it dealt with Moore, especially as Moore was allowed to drive out of Newtownabbey RUC barracks with the shotgun he used to attack the Sinn Féin office."

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