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Saturday 30 August 2014

Man (77) charged in connection with the murder of mother-of-ten Jean McConville

Tom Brady, Security Editor

Published 21/03/2014 | 20:42

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Jean McConville and two of her children before she disappeared

FORMER senior republican Ivor Bell will appear in court tomorrow on a charge connected to the murder of mother of ten, Jean McConville more than 40 years ago.

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Bell (77) was arrested by PSNI officers from the serious crime branch at his home in Andersonstown, west Belfast at lunchtime on Tuesday and questioned at Antrim police station.

He is due to appear at Belfast magistrates court tomorrow on a charge of aiding and abetting the murder and a further charge of membership of the IRA.

Mrs McConville became one of the “disappeared” after she was abducted by an IRA gang from her west Belfast home, shot in the head and secretly buried.

She was a 37-year-old widow when she was taken from her home in the Divis flats complex by up to a dozen IRA men and women and bundled into the back of a van.

She was shot in the back of the head and her body buried at Shelling Beach in north Louth, about 50 miles from her home, in August 2003.

The IRA subsequently claimed she had been murdered because she was giving information to the security forces.

The claim was strenuously denied by her family and following an investigation the then Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan subsequently found there was no evidence to support the IRA’s allegation.

Jean McConville became one of 16 people, who were later known as “the disappeared”. 

The remains of seven of that group have not yet been found despite extensive searches carried out under the control of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains.

Bell was regarded as a key figure in the Provisional republican leadership in the 1970s and was highly influential in Belfast where he was at one stage a close associate of Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams.

Both men were members of a republican delegation, flown to London by the RAF to hold secret ceasefire talks with British government ministers.

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