The family of the murdered Gerard Cairns, aged 22 and Rory Cairns, aged 18 received a copy of the Investigative Report of the Police Ombudsman on the evening of 29th October 2007 almost 14 years to the day from the date of the murder of their sons by Loyalist Paramilitaries.
The Family notes the conclusion of the Police Ombudsman which have upheld their complaints in three respects:
The first, that the Police trivilised the murders and that the investigation was poor and devoid of any real determination to bring to justice those responsible for the death of Gerard and Rory;
The second upholding the family’s complaint that the Police did not maintain regular contact with the family;
The third in respect of the conduct of an officer referred to in the Report as Officer C.
The Family are however very disappointed that the Police Ombudsman did not find evidence of security force collusion in the course of their investigation.
The Police Ombudsman states that:
“There is evidence that Special Branch did not pass all the intelligence relating to the murders and linked incidents to the investigating officer.”
“While up to 20 officers were initially allocated to the case, there is evidence that after two weeks, most had been moved to other duties,”
“No new lines of inquiry were identified just three weeks after the murder, and work on the investigation stopped after about three months.”
“Neither is there evidence that the police produced any reports to assist any subsequent reviews of the investigation. Indeed, there is no evidence that any such review took place. This should have been done in order to identify any new lines of enquiry, particularly in relation to advances in forensic technology.”
In addition most of the significant forensic exhibits relating to the case had been lost by the RUC.
All records of interviews with the nine suspects quizzed by the police had been destroyed.
In respect of efforts made to track down the person who purchased the getaway car at auction, a number of investigative opportunities had either been missed or were not recorded in police documentation.
The Police Ombudsman has made a number of recommendations in relation to the PSNI Historical Review Team and the family confirm that they have already been contacted by the HET in relation to that reinvestigation of the murders of Gerard and Rory.
Eamon Cairns, the father of Gerard and Rory stated:
“It is with grave concern and much pain, that we receive the report from the Ombudsman, Mrs. Nuala O’Loan, into the murders of Gerard and Rory after 4 years of investigation. Our search for the truth seems no closer. It seems hard to believe that a professional and highly experienced police force could be accused of this high degree of incompetence.
This report implicitly casts further suspicions that there was collusion, and a subsequent cover up between then and now to ensure any such evidence would never come to light.
We are conscious that our case is one of many similar cases. It is our belief that the government has colluded with loyalists to kill our sons and it is a source of eternal pain and frustration.
We thank those groups and friends who have and will continue to support us, both our families and especially Peter Madden, Eugene Burns of Madden & Finucane Solicitors and the Finucane family for their endurance in fighting our case”
Eugene Burns of the family’s solicitors Madden and Finucane, added:
“The anguish of the Cairns family at the murder of their two children has been compounded by the failure of the RUC and PSNI to conduct an investigation to the required standards.”