Jean McConville murder: Son says he knows killers

Jean McConville and children
Image caption Jean McConville left behind 10 children when she was abducted and murdered by the IRA

The son of Jean McConville, who was abducted from her home and murdered by the IRA more than 40 years ago, has said he knows the names of her killers.

But he had never told anyone who was behind his mother's death in 1972, Michael McConville said.

He said he had been abducted and beaten by the IRA when he was 11, and warned if he went to the police that he or family members would be killed.

"I do know the names of the people, I've never told anyone," he said.

"I wouldn't tell the police. If I told the police now a thing, me or one of my family members or one of my children would get shot by those people," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

He said that "everybody thinks this has all gone away", but that people still suffered intimidation - not by the IRA, but by "splinter groups" of the paramilitary organisation.

"They would just class you as an informant and they would shoot you," he said.

"It's terrible, from my point of view and my family's point of view, that we know those people and we can't bring them to justice."

'My blood boils'

Mr McConville was in the family's west Belfast home when a gang of IRA members forced their way in and dragged the widow and mother-of-10 from the house as her children watched.

He said he and his family knew two weeks after their mother was taken that she was dead, because an "IRA man had come and left my mother's purse and her wedding rings at the house".

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Media captionMichael McConville was 11 years old when his mother was abducted from her home in the Divis area of Belfast

And he said he had seen those responsible on "many occasions" over the years.

"My blood boils in my body," he said. "I just can't stand those people for what they have done to us."

But he said he hoped people could understand why he didn't expose his mother's killers.

Too scared

Thirty-seven-year-old Jean McConville, one of the most prominent of Northern Ireland's so-called Disappeared, was taken after being wrongly accused of being an informer.

Her body was recovered from a beach in County Louth in 2003.

Following the arrest of the republican leader Gerry Adams on Wednesday, Mr McConville said he was glad the police were taking the case seriously.

"I was 11 years of age when the IRA gang came in and trailed our mother out of our arms," he said.

"A rap came to the door, they barged their way in. Me and all my brothers and sisters were holding on to my mother, crying and squealing."

He said Mrs McConville had been in an "awful state" having been taken the night before from a bingo hall and beaten by the IRA.

He was abducted a week later, he said, and tied to a chair and beaten with sticks.

"They were putting a gun to my head and told me they were going to shoot me," he said.

"They fired a cap gun and stuck a penknife in my leg."

He said that for more than 20 years, until after the IRA ceasefire, the family had been too scared to speak about Mrs McConville's killing.

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