THE PSNI has revealed that MI5 agents and former RUC Special Branch officers are to be investigated over the police murder of a teenager in a hayshed over 30 years ago.
An outside police force is to be asked to carry out the investigation in the RUC murder of Michael Tighe in Lurgan in 1982 and the wounding of IRA man Martin McCauley.
The hayshed had been bugged by MI5 as it contained IRA guns and it was also under surveillance by the RUC’s E4A specialisit covert unit at the time.
It was revealed last year that the tapes of the surveillance operation were destroyed by MI5.
The ‘shoot-to-kill’ murder was later investigated by former deputy chief constable of Greater Manchester Police John Stalker.
However, he later claimed that his inquiries were blocked by RUC Special Branch alleging it was acting as a ‘force within a force” to stop him getting at the truth of the murder.
Stalker stated that access to the MI5 tapes were blocked by the then Chief Constable Sir Jack Hermon.
This evening, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, Head of the PSNI Service Improvement Department said in a statement: “The PSNI can confirm that it has received a referral under Section 35(5) of the Justice Act 2002 from the Director of Public Prosecutions requesting that the Chief Constable undertakes an investigation into the actions of Security Service Personnel in relation to the withholding, concealment and destruction of surveillance evidence concerning an operation at a hayshed at Ballynerry Road North, Lurgan on November 24 1982, where Michael Tighe was shot dead and Martin McCauley was wounded by members of the RUC.
“The Director has also made a referral to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland relating to the conduct of a number of former RUC Officers involved in the same investigation.
“The responsibility for progressing matters relating to former police officers lies with the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.
“The investigation into individuals who are not police officers is the responsibility of the Chief Constable.
“In the interests of transparency and public confidence, the Chief Constable has decided that the police investigation should be conducted by an external police service and will work with Her Majesty’s Chief Inspectorate to identify a Force to undertake the investigation on behalf of PSNI.
“The team will work under the direction of, and will report directly to, the Chief Constable of PSNI who will oversee the investigation and report to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
“The PSNI will also work with the Office of the Police Ombudsman to ensure that they are provided with the information they require to conduct their investigation as speedily as possible.”