Stevens backs McCord killing collusion claim

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The Independent Online

Lord Stevens, the retired senior policeman who investigated collusion cases in Northern Ireland, has backed a campaign for justice for a Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) murder victim.

He said there was “clear evidence of collusion” in the 1997 killing of Raymond McCord in Newtownabbey.

The former Metropolitan Police Commissioner made his comments in a letter to the victim's father, Raymond McCord Snr.

Mr McCord fought a long battle to expose the role of a police informer in the UVF murder gang that killed his son.

His allegations were vindicated in a 2007 report by Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan.

In his letter Lord Stevens warmly praised Mrs O'Loan's investigation of the case.

He also commended Mr McCord's efforts “in the face of all the obstacles placed in your path and the very real threats to your life by paramilitaries”.

The letter continued: “The publication by the Police Ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan, of her excellent investigation and report in January 2007, ‘Operation Ballast', refers to your son's case and highlights clear evidence of collusion in your son's murder.

“As mentioned by the Ombudsman in her report, I also reported on similar collusion in other cases and my definition of |collusion was incorporated in Nuala's report.

“You have my full support in your continued efforts to obtain justice for your son Raymond junior and bring to justice those responsible for his murder.”

Welcoming the comments, Mr McCord said: “Certain unionist politicians criticised Nuala O'Loan and asked where the evidence was for her findings.

“But now a former Metropolitan Police Commissioner has stated there is clear evidence of collusion.

“Lord Stevens is an expert in collusion. This is a vindication of Mrs O'Loan and of what I have been saying for years. These unionist politicians should apologise for their past remarks.”

Raymond McCord Jnr was beaten to death in a quarry in November 1997. His father has long alleged he was murdered on the orders of a senior UVF

From The Belfast Telegraph