Ivor Bell remanded in custody over Jean McConville murder
A former senior figure in the IRA in Belfast appeared in court today charged with the murder of Jean McConville.
Ivor Malachy Bell who was flown to London in 1972 with the Louth TD Gerry Adams to negotiate an IRA truce with the British Government was charged with aiding and abetting the murder of the mother of ten young children who was abducted from her Belfast home by the IRA in December 1972.
She was held at IRA ‘safe houses’ before being shot and buried by the IRA which refused to admit involvement in her murder until 1999. Her body was eventually recovered from a beach in County Louth in August 2003.
In court yesterday a lawyer for 77 year-old Bell said that his client denied any involvement in the murder of Jean McConville and applied for bail.
But a police officer told the court that he believed that Bell had played a critical role in aiding and abetting the murder of Mrs. McConville. He said that there would be a high risk of Bell absconding if he was granted bail.
Bell’s lawyer said that the evidence against his client was based on audio tapes made during a project run by Boston College and said that "the evidence was not credible".
The lawyer described his client as a frail 77-year-old grandfather who had suffered two heart attacks in recent years as well as having neck and bowel problems.
Bell who was arrested at his home in west Belfast on Tuesday was refused bail.
Jean McConville is described as one of the “Disappeared”, a group made up mainly of men who fell foul of the IRA and were abducted and their bodies secretly buried by republicans during the Troubles.
Sixteen people were listed as “Disappeared” by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains which was established in 1999 through a treaty between the British and Irish Governments.
Despite extensive searches, the remains of seven on the list have yet to be found.