McConville murder accused back in court

Ivor Bell
Ivor Bell

An alleged former IRA commander accused of aiding and abetting the murder of Disappeared victim Jean McConville appeared back in court on Friday.

Lawyers for Ivor Bell were granted an application to vary a bail condition on when he has to report to police.

The 77-year-old veteran republican is out on bail on charges connected to the abduction and killing of the mother-of-10 in 1972.

Mrs McConville was seized by the IRA from her Divis Flats home in west Belfast in 1972, shot dead and then secretly buried.

Bell, from Ramoan Gardens in the Andersonstown district of the city, was arrested last month.

He faces charges of IRA membership and aiding and abetting the murder.

The case against him is based on an interview he allegedly gave to researchers at Boston College in the United States.

Several former paramilitaries were interviewed about their roles in the Northern Ireland conflict.

Although transcripts were not to be published until after the deaths of those who took part, last year a US court ordered that the tapes be handed over to PSNI detectives investigating Mrs McConville’s killing.

Bell denies any role in Mrs McConville’s abduction or murder.

But during a High Court hearing at which he secured bail it was alleged that he gave advice that she should not be spared from murder just because she was a woman, the High Court heard yesterday.

Prosecutors claimed he told a man involved in abducting her for being a suspected informer that he had no problem with the shooting of “touts”.

The pensioner, who has serious health problems, was released from custody on conditions which included reporting to police three times a week.

As he appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court for a review hearing, defence solicitor Peter Corrigan of KRW Law applied to vary that term.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall granted the application so that Bell no longer has to check in with police at a specific time.

The accused was released on continuing bail to return to court in June.