39 years ago this evening – 11 November 1982 – three unarmed men were shot dead near Lurgan by members of an elite, SAS trained, firearms unit of the RUC.
109 rounds were fired at a car killing its owner Gervaise McKerr (31), Eugene Toman (21) and Sean Burns (21).
In 1984, three RUC officers were acquitted of Eugene Toman’s murder and re-instated back into the RUC.
John Stalker, Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, investigated the deaths but was controversially removed from his post shortly before finishing his investigation. His findings have never been made public.
Sir Jack Hermon, Chief Constable of the RUC, steadfastly refused to disclose John Stalker’s report to the Coroner for Craigavon, who subsequently abandoned the inquests into the deaths.
In 2007, Madden & Finucane brought a successful legal challenge to the House of Lords in London on behalf of the families of Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew, who were shot dead by the SAS in Co Armagh in 1990.
This resulted in the obligations on the Chief Constable to make disclosure of ALL relevant documents to Coroners being finally and unequivocally defined.
On the same year the families of Gervaise McKerr, Eugene Toman and Sean Burns made an application to the Coroner to re-open the inquests into the deaths of their loved ones.
After 14 years of countless preliminary hearings, the PSNI has yet to provide full disclosure to the Coroner and a date for the inquest has yet to be fixed.
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