The family of IRA man Pat McGeown have denied he was the killer of Jean McConville.
It was reported last weekend that the one-time hunger striker was the man who shot the mother-of-10 after she was abducted from her Divis Flats home in December 1972.
The report also claimed McGeown shot dead ‘Good Samaritan’ Protestant workman Sammy Llewellyn when he went to help Catholics on the Falls Road board up windows after an IRA bomb in 1975.
Jean McConville’s son Jim said republicans had recently disclosed details of his mother’s murder and named McGeown as the man who pulled the trigger.
The allegation was yesterday dismissed by McGeown’s family in a statement issued through solicitors Madden & Finucane.
The statement said the “hurtful allegations are denied and certainly are not proven”.
“False allegations are easy to make and those made against people who are not able to answer for themselves are easier to make,” the solicitors’ statement said.
It noted a “completely different account of the murder” given by convicted IRA bomber Dolours Price, who died last year.
“She said that she drove Jean from Belfast to Dundalk, stopping on the way to get her fish and chips and cigarettes,” the statement said.
“Jean was subsequently murdered.”
Pointing to the media coverage of the mother-of-10’s abduction and secret burial, the family said: “Pat McGeown has never been mentioned in all that coverage”.
“As far as the murder of Sammy Llewellyn is concerned, another individual was named publicly some years ago as being involved in the murder and had to publicly refute the allegation,” the statement said.
“Pat McGeown was never named as being involved in this murder.”
Jean McConville’s case was among those featured in the critically-acclaimed documentary The Disappeared, screened last week by RTE and the BBC.
Following many fruitless searches over several years, her remains were discovered in August 2003 by a member of the public walking on Shelling Hill beach in Co Louth.
Often referred to as the “11th hunger striker” after fasting for 47 days during the 1981 Hunger Strike, McGeown died of a heart attack in 1996.
At his funeral Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly said the former Sinn Fein councillor started “barricade duty” at 13 before joining the IRA.
He was jailed in the Republic for explosives offences aged 14 and at 16 was interned before being sent to jail for a bomb attack.
He served 15 years for bombing the Europa Hotel and was the ‘Officer Commanding’ of the IRA in the Maze. After being released in 1986, he went on to become group leader of Sinn Fein on Belfast City Council.