‘Missed opportunities’ to gather evidence and intelligence

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INVESTIGATORS reviewing the circumstances of the Teebane Massacre found that opportunities were missed to gather evidence and intelligence which may have identified the bombers.

In a re-investigation into the murders of the eight workmen, who were on their way home from Lisanelly Barracks in Omagh on the evening of January 17th, 1992, states that although efforts by the RUC to secure forensic and witness information were “comprehensive”, the “same determination” was not reflected in the approach to identifying and arresting suspects.

The Historical Enquiries Team review says that this resulted in “missed opportunities” to gather evidence or intelligence which may have led to the identification of offenders.

It reads: “The division between Special Branch (SB) and investigators was unique to the RUC, and reflected the situation in Northern Ireland that had no parallels elsewhere. Intelligence was often the only viable tool to combat paramilitaries.”

“However, such was the volume and scale of offences, there were occasions when liaison between SB an investigators could have been better. Without the opportunity to examine policy files or additional explanations from those leading the original investigation, the HET cannot satisfactorily explain why a number of suspects were not arrested and this appears to represent potential missed opportunities to advance investigation.”

During the investigation that followed into the eight murders, seven men linked to the Provisional IRA in County Tyrone were arrested but no-one has ever been charged with the murders.”

18 men became suspects in the original police investigation, five of which were never arrested.

The rest were released without charge and no further arrests have ever been made in the investigation,

The 200 page report, signed off by HET Director David Cox, states: “There are no new lines of enquiry or investigative opportunities in this case that could bring about the identification or prosecution of those responsible for the murders of the eight workmen at Teebane Crossroads.”

“There remains an absence of identification or forensic evidence, which would progress this case.”