McCartneys may take civil action on killing


The family of murdered Belfast father of two Robert McCartney are considering a civil action against his killers. Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor, reports.

Mr McCartney's sister Catherine confirmed last night they were exploring whether a civil action could be taken if it proved impossible to bring his killers to court.

"We are looking, if we cannot get those who killed my brother into court on criminal charges, at the possibility of a legal action similar to the Omagh families' civil action," she said.

"It is one avenue we want to explore with lawyers and we will be seeking legal advice.

"However, our principal focus at the moment is on getting those responsible into court." Robert McCartney was stabbed and beaten outside a Belfast city centre bar on January 30th and a friend, Brendan Devine, was also seriously wounded following a row with republicans.

The PSNI says it is no closer to solving the murder. It has arrested 11 people in connection with Mr McCartney's death but police sources say none of these people provided evidence that could convict the killers.

McCartney family members said some of these witnesses "stared at the walls" and said nothing when they went to the police with their solicitors.

Provisional republican leaders have also instructed witnesses to go forward to the Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan to provide evidence if they did not want to deal directly with the PSNI.

But while a small number of written statements were issued to the Ombudsman, it was reported yesterday that no one has personally spoken to her or her officers.