Victim’s father gets assurance on findings

The father of a teenager brutally murdered by loyalist paramilitaries more than 20 years ago is to obtain a watchdog report into his complaint about alleged failures in the police investigation by next spring.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 7:15 am

Paul McIlwaine ended High Court action against the police ombudsman following the undertaking to issue him with a “closure letter” no later than March 31, 2023.

His 18-year-old son, David McIlwaine, was beaten and stabbed to death along with Andrew Robb, 19, in February 2000.

The victims’ mutilated bodies were found on an isolated country road near Tandragee, Co Armagh.

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David McIlwaine

Members of the Mid-Ulster UVF are believed to have carried out the killings as part of a feud with the rival LVF.

Even though neither teenager was a member of any paramilitary organisation, Mr Robb had allegedly made derogatory remarks about UVF commander Richard Jameson after he was shot dead weeks earlier.

In 2009 Stephen Leslie Brown, 41, was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison for the murders, described by the trial judge as ranking among the most gruesome committed in Northern Ireland.

Another member of the group identified as being involved in the killings, Noel Dillon, committed suicide before the conclusion of criminal proceedings.

A third associate, Mark Burcombe, admitted a lesser charge and provided evidence against Brown.

Despite the convictions, persistent claims have been made that a Special Branch agent was involved in the murders and protected from prosecution.

In 2003 Mr McIlwaine lodged a complaint with the police ombudsman about alleged failings in the police investigation into his son’s killing.

Earlier this year he commenced judicial review proceedings over alleged delays in dealing with his case.

However, the application for a judicial review was withdrawn and dismissed by consent after a resolution was reached.

Reacting to the development, Mr McIlwaine said: “While I appreciate the commitment made by the police ombudsman to complete the investigation within the next year, I am at a loss to understand why it has taken almost 20 years to complete this investigation.”

He called on the Ombudsman, Marie Anderson, to explain the delay to the victims’ relatives.