FORMER IRA chief of staff Ivor Bell was remanded in custody today charged with aiding and abetting in the murder of Jean McConville over 40 years ago.
Bell, 77, was arrested at his home in Ramoan Gardens in west Belfast on Tuesday by ‘Waking The Dead’ detectives.
Detectives were later granted an extension to his detention in custody and he was formally charged on Friday evening at the serious crime suite in Antrim with IRA membership and aiding and abetting in her murder.
The former Adjutant to the IRA’s Belfast Brigade was refused bail at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.
The court heard from a Serious Crime Branch detective that the PSNI believed there was a high risk of Bell absconding from the Northern Ireland jurisdiction if bail was granted.
Bell denies any involvement in the murder of the 37-year-old mother-of-ten was abducted by an IRA snatch gang in 1972 from her home in the Divis Flats off the Falls Road.
His defence claims that the case against Bell, who has reportedly suffered two heart attacks in recent years, was based on the so-called Boston College tapes.
The tapes related to ‘beyond the grave’ interviews with former IRA figures Brendan Hughes and Dolores Price, both who are now dead.
Hughes claimed in his interviews that Gerry Adams, who was then head of the IRA in Belfast, gave the order Mrs McConville’s abduction and murder. Adams denies the claims.
The court heard on Saturday that the evidence against Bell showed that he played a critical role in aiding and abetting in the murder of Mrs McConville whose remains were eventually found in 2003 on a beach in Co Louth.
Despite a defence offer of a £200,000 surety to secure his release, a district judge remanded Bell into custody at Maghaberry Prison.
He will spend a number of days in the prison assessment unit before prison chiefs decide where to house him.