Witness in Omagh bomb case retracts evidence

A crucial prosecution witness in a case involving the Omagh bombing retracted his evidence suddenly yesterday, saying he had testified under pressure from Irish police.

Colm Murphy is on trial at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin on charges of conspiring to cause an explosion in August 1998, when a Real IRA bomb attack killed 29 people in the Co Tyrone town of Omagh.

Yesterday, Patrick Terence Morgan, a witness in the trial, indicated that he wished to withdraw evidence that Murphy had borrowed his mobile phone the day before the bombing.

The court was told that Mr Morgan, who is Mr Murphy's second cousin and was a bricklayer working for the accused's construction firm at the time of the bombing, had been on medication.

Mr Morgan told the court when he was recalled to the witness box that he had made a statement and later given evidence after Irish police put pressure on him. He said: "I can't sleep or live with myself for saying I gave the phone to him. I had to get it off my conscience. I told a lie."

Claiming he was threatened by police, he added: "I was put under pressure, they wanted evidence that I gave Colm Murphy the phone, which is not true. I did not give him the phone at all. It was in the van."

It had been alleged in court that Mr Murphy had given Mr Morgan's telephone, together with his own, to an associate of a high-ranking Real IRA figure. Both phones were said to have been used during the operation.

Mr Murphy is the only person to face charges connected with the Omagh bombing. Some weeks ago, a controversy broke out in Northern Ireland when it was alleged that the Royal Ulster Constabulary had not investigated properly the bomb attack, which is regarded as one of the worst incidents of the Troubles.

The Murphy prosecution has not gone smoothly. Two months ago the court ruled, after listening to expert witnesses, that interview notes submitted by a detective had been altered and that the officer was "guilty of patent falsification".

A judge described the conduct of two detectives as outrageous, saying they had been involved in persistent lying under cross-examination. The trial continued after the court ruled there was no evidence that other police interrogators were involved in falsification.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'