Detectives find murder weapon on display at Imperial War Museum

The museum say the assault rifle linked to seven murders during The Troubles was loaned to them by the RUC

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The Independent Online

A gun connected to seven murders during the Troubles has been found on public display at the Imperial War Museum.

Investigators re-examining paramilitary murders which took place during the Troubles discovered the assault rifle on display in an exhibition about the Northern Irish conflict, a BBC Panorama investigation has revealed.

The families of those killed had been told by police that they had disposed of the weapon. However, investigators into the unsolved murder cases found the VZ58 rifle at the London museum and have now sent it for further tests as part of their on-going inquiries into the deaths.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr told the BBC: "I have been made aware that investigators from the Police Ombudsman's office have recovered a weapon on loan from police in Northern Ireland to the Imperial War Museum in London as part of a permanent exhibition relating to 'the Troubles'."

He continued: "In the interests of public confidence and transparency, I accept that it merits further investigation."

A representative from the museum said that they had received the gun from the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the precursor to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, which was dissolved in 2001.

Billy McManus, whose father Willie was one of the murder victims, told the BBC: “I am absolutely shocked that a gun connected with so many deaths was there on display for anyone to come and see at the Imperial War Museum in London. It should be here in a secure place so that it can be used for ballistics.”

"Why would somebody let something so important be shipped to England to be put on display? What does that say about their treatment of the case? They just don't care.”