Northern Ireland

David Black murder: Investigation into suspect's monitoring

DAMIEN MCLAUGHLIN Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Damien McLaughlin is due to stand trial next month

The Police Ombudsman is to investigate why the PSNI failed to monitor the movements of a man charged in connection with the murder of prison officer David Black.

County Tyrone man Damien McLaughlin is due to stand trial in connection with the murder next month but has not been seen by police since November.

The PSNI have apologised to Mr Black's family.

They said they felt betrayed by the criminal justice system.

The accused had a bail condition that he should report to police five days out of seven.

The PSNI said it will review its handling of the case.

'Necessary'

Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire has now decided he will begin a formal investigation into what happened.

In a statement, the Police Ombudsman's office said it "has decided that it is necessary in the public interest to conduct an investigation to establish whether there were any failings in police conduct or in policing systems in the management of Mr McLaughlin's bail conditions".

"We are now beginning the process of securing and examining relevant evidence, including police records. A report on the findings of the investigation will be published in due course."

Mr Black was shot dead by dissident republicans as he drove along the M1 on his way to work at Maghaberry prison in November 2012.

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption David Black was shot dead as drove along the M1 on his way to work at Maghaberry prison in November 2012

Mr McLaughlin spent time in prison on remand on charges connected to Mr Black's killing, but was released on bail in May 2014.

A series of conditions imposed were later varied, including the removal of a stipulation that he had to wear an electronic tag and a reduction in the number of days he had to report to police.

At Belfast Crown Court on Friday, a judge revoked McLaughlin's bail after being told that he had breached those conditions.

Earlier this week, David Black's son, Kyle, said that the decision to relax the bail conditions was "laughable to say the least".

More on this story