Northern Ireland

Son of murdered RUC man John Larmour backs Police Ombudsman

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Media captionGavin Larmour's father was shot dead by the IRA while he worked at his brother's ice cream parlour in Belfast

The son of an RUC officer killed by the IRA has accused the PSNI of deliberately blocking efforts by the Police Ombudsman to investigate his father's murder.

Gavin Larmour believes that no-one was ever charged with his father John's killing to protect an informer.

Mr Larmour was off duty and working in his brother's ice cream parlour when he was shot dead in Belfast in 1988.

His son is backing legal action by Police Ombudsman Michael Maguire

It is aimed at forcing the chief constable to hand over information.

The ombudsman says the PSNI has refused him access to information relating to 60 murders where there are allegations of serious criminal behaviour or misconduct by police officers.

Gavin Larmour was 13 years old when his father was murdered.

He claims RUC Special Branch knew the identity of the killers, but did not help detectives investigating the murder because they were protecting an informer.

"I am glad that Michael Maguire has taken this action to get the information he needs to complete his investigation," he said.

Image caption John Larmour was shot dead by two IRA gunmen at an ice-cream parlour in Belfast

"It is now almost 26 years since he was murdered, that's effectively a full life sentence, and I am still having to chase to get any resolution, truth and justice from this.

"They seem to be actively blocking the investigation and prosecution of those responsible. The only reason that I believe they would do that is to protect informers."

The PSNI insists that any reluctance to hand over material to the ombudsman and his investigators has nothing to do with the sensitivity of the material or any desire to protect informers.

They say it is based on legal advice that says they could be potentially breaking the law by handing it over.

But Gavin Larmour does not accept that explanation.

"My understanding is that the ombudsman has the same legal authority to investigate crime as the police, and has the highest level security clearance which means he can have access to sensitive material," he said.

"They say they can't provide this information because of concerns about data protection and human rights.

"What about my rights? What about my right to know the truth about what happened to my father and whether the police know who was involved but have not taken action against them."

The PSNI has said it hopes to resolve the dispute with the ombudsman without the need for court action.

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