Ivor Bell will stand trial over Jean McConville killing

Veteran republican is charged with two counts of soliciting the 1972 murder

A  file photo of Jean McConville. Veteran republican Ivor Bell (79) from West Belfast will stand trial for involvement in the 1972 murder of the mother of 10, a judge in Northern Ireland ruled on Thursday. Photograph: PA

A file photo of Jean McConville. Veteran republican Ivor Bell (79) from West Belfast will stand trial for involvement in the 1972 murder of the mother of 10, a judge in Northern Ireland ruled on Thursday. Photograph: PA

 

Veteran republican Ivor Bell will stand trial for involvement in the 1972 killing of Jean McConville, a judge in Northern Ireland has ruled.

Bell (79), from Ramoan Gardens in west Belfast, is charged with two counts of soliciting the widow’s murder.

The pensioner appeared at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, where he was told the case would proceed to the Crown Court.

District Judge Amanda Henderson said: “There is a case to answer at this stage.”

Bell denies all the charges against him.

He was originally charged with aiding and abetting the murder and with being a member of the IRA, but the charges were subsequently amended by the Public Prosecution Service.

Preliminary inquiry

The judge’s decision followed a two-day preliminary inquiry at the Laganside court complex last week.

The judge said she was “satisfied” the strength of the evidence was sufficient to meet the threshold to return the accused for trial.

Throughout the brief hearing on Thursday, Bell stood in the dock beside a prison guard.

On the advice of his solicitor, he replied “no” when asked if he had any response or intended to call witnesses.

PA