PSNI apologises to Peadar Heffron for bomb investigation

Ombudsman recommends that four officers should be disciplined after constable lost leg

Senior PSNI officers met former constable Peadar Heffron to apologise to him personally for a failure to pass on information about a dissident bomb attack that caused him serious injuries almost six years ago, it was confirmed last night.

The PSNI Chief Constable, George Hamilton, and his deputy, Drew Harris, also briefed the North's Policing Board yesterday about the investigation into the undercar booby trap bomb attack which resulted in Mr Heffron having a leg amputated.

The chairwoman of the board, Anne Connolly, said members had a "full and frank" discussion with Mr Hamilton and Mr Harris.

“During discussions, board members also sought assurances around the support being provided to Peadar Heffron and very much welcome that he has now received an apology from the PSNI,” she said.

Apology

That apology was issued to Mr Heffron late last week, said a PSNI source, following a report by the North’s Police Ombudsman, Dr

Michael Maguire

, that was critical of the police investigation into the booby trap attack.

Last week, Dr Maguire recommended that four police intelligence officers should be disciplined for their failure to pass on information about the bomb attack.

He found that there was insufficient evidence to support an allegation that the attack could have been prevented but complained that the four officers – two detective superintendents and two detective sergeants – from its C3 intelligence unit failed to help detectives investigating the blast.

Negative message

Two of the officers received a lower level of sanction than that recommended by Dr Maguire.

Ms Connolly said board members told Mr Hamilton and Mr Harris that the decision to reduce the sanctions in two cases sent out a “negative message”.

Mr Heffron, who has left the PSNI, was a Catholic officer who captained the force’s GAA team and was also an Irish language speaker. He was viewed as the sort of officer who could help make the PSNI more attractive to Catholics and nationalists.

It is also suspected that his relatively high profile as a Catholic officer may have been the reason he was targeted by dissidents.

The bomb exploded under Mr Heffron's car in Randalstown, Co Antrim in January 2010 as he was driving to work. He suffered severe injuries leading to the amputation of his right leg.