An investigation into the fatal shooting of a man by loyalists in 2005 will take months more because it is potentially linked to a number of other matters, a lawyer for the Police Ombudsman said.
Craig McCausland, 20, was gunned down in his Dhu Varren Park home in north Belfast.
An organisation established to monitor paramilitary activity has already blamed the UVF for the killing amid a bloody feud with the LVF. At the time, his family and police said he was not a member of any paramilitary organisation.
Seamus McIlroy, for the Ombudsman’s office, told a Belfast preliminary inquest hearing: “The investigation is a complex one, it is linked potentially to a number of other matters. We are working our way through those matters.
“At this stage, given the complexity of issues, it will be a substantial period of time before we would be content that the investigation of these linked matters would be concluded.
“We are talking at least months.”
Mr McCausland’s partner and her two children, aged nine and six, were in the house when three men burst in and shot him on 11 July 2005.
The British and Irish Governments-established Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) has blamed the UVF for five murders, including Mr McCausland’s death, and 15 attempted murders as part of its feud with the LVF.
The McCausland family has met with the Ombudsman’s office to express concern about the police investigation.
Lawyer Padraig O’Muirigh said: “The family are very disappointed at the position today, that there has been so little progress in relation to their complaint to the Ombudsman.
“They have not been informed until today that there has been any investigation started in their own case and that is very disappointing given the concerns they have raised about the role of state agents in the death of their loved one.”
Mr McIlroy said he would check with the office’s family liaison officers to ensure they are kept informed.
Another preliminary inquest hearing will be convened to review progress in September.
PSNI barrister Ken Boyd said 35 files of non-sensitive material were almost ready to be disclosed to coroner Suzanne Anderson before she considers whether they are relevant to the inquest. Sensitive documents are also available for inspection.