Update from today’s Stalker Sampson Inquest Preliminary Hearing

A preliminary hearing was held today into the deaths of Gervaise McKerr, Eugene Toman and Sean Burns who were shot dead by a specialist unit of the RUC whilst unarmed on the Tullygally Road, Lurgan on 11 November 1982. There have been 12 years of preliminary hearings to prepare for the inquest and 8 years ago the Chief Constable was forced to disclose the top secret Stalker Sampson reports to the families and their lawyers. Less than 4 weeks before this hearing was due to take place in order to timetable the inquest, the Chief Constable of the PSNI ordered an external investigation be carried out into the deaths of three police officers at Kinnego Embankment in October 1982. This follows a conclusion by former Chief Constable George Hamilton that outstanding investigative opportunities into their deaths were identified. There has been no proper explanation why despite having been in possession of the Stalker Sampson reports for 35 years these opportunities have only been identified now. One must wonder if this is a deliberate tactic by the PSNI to prevent the public examination at an inquest of an RUC shoot to kill policy in late 1982 in which in total six men were killed and one seriously wounded.