Chief Constable thought Kincora report ‘slightly disappointing’

Sir John Hermon

Sir John Hermon


One of the two files released about Kincora reveals that the NIO had a copy of Sir George Terry’s report into Kincora from at least July 1, 1983 – even though its conclusions were not published until the end of October of that year and the report itself has never been published in full.

A July 1, 1983 note from PJ Woodfield sent to the Secretary of State and copied to 16 senior officials said: “I have now obtained from Sir John Hermon a single copy of Sir George Terry’s report. The document is attached: the fact that we have it at this stage is rather sensitive.”

Although the “substantial supporting reports have not yet been completed” and are expected to take several weeks to finish, Mr Woodfield added that the conclusions “are entirely satisfactory in that he concludes firmly that there is no truth in any of the wild rumours or allegations in the press.

“Nevertheless, the document as a whole is a slightly disappointing one – a view which the Chief Constable privately shares.

“It is written in parts in peculiar English, which could be mocked by sophisticated commentators, there is a tendency to homily and some passages about the child care service need to be looked at carefully if they are to be published.”

He said that the Chief Constable expected to refer the report to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General, who he thought “may well see legal problems in publishing the report as it stands.

“It is at that stage that the Chief Constable in his present thinking will go back to Sir George Terry and explain the problem in the hope that he will be willing to accept advice on re-casting his report in a way which makes it more suitable for publication.”

Another note casts new light on the Chief Constable’s decision to appoint Sir George Terry to investigate the police handling of Kincora.

A February 1982 background briefing on Kincora said that the Chief Constable had spoken to the two officials who wrote the briefing.

The document said: “He [the Chief Constable] is alive to the need that has developed in the past few days to protect the integrity of the RUC in this affair,” adding that he saw “three elements of potential vulnerability” and was “favourably disposed towards the idea of asking a colleague of his own rank from a GB force, suitably supported, to look thoroughly at the facts...”

Another confidential briefing note on Kincora, seemingly written in 1982, said that there was “a growing public suspicion that the whole case had not yet been cleared up. Specifically, it is claimed that influence was brought to bear on the police not to pursue their inquiries, by government officials and public figures...there are persistent rumours that ‘guilty men’ in high places have not been brought to justice”.




Back to the top of the page