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Thursday 27 April 2017

Woman (57) arrested in Jean McConville murder probe released pending police report

Jean McConville and two of her children before she disappeared
Jean McConville and two of her children before she disappeared

David Young

A 57-year-old woman arrested by detectives investigating the IRA murder of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville more than 40 years ago has been released pending a police report being sent to prosecutors.

She had been detained in west Belfast today and taken to Antrim police station for questioning.

The abduction, murder and secret burial of Mrs McConville in 1972 is one of the most notorious incidents of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Nobody has ever been charged with her murder.

After decades without significant developments in the criminal investigation, today's arrest was the fourth made by detectives within a month.

In March veteran republican - 77-year-old Ivor Bell - was charged in connection with the killing. Bell, from Ramoan Gardens in west Belfast, faces counts of aiding and abetting the murder and of IRA membership.

Another 57-year-old woman and a 56-year-old man, arrested separately in west Belfast earlier this month, were released from custody after questioning. Police are also preparing a report on that woman for assessment by prosecutors.

Mrs McConville, a widow, was dragged away from her children in her home in the Divis flats, west Belfast, by an IRA gang of up to 12 men and women after being accused of passing information to the British Army in the city.

An investigation later carried out by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman rejected the claims that she was an informer.

She was shot in the back of the head and buried 50 miles from her home. The IRA did not admit her murder until 1999 when information was passed to police in the Irish Republic.

She became one of the so-called Disappeared, and it was not until August 2003 that her remains were found on Shelling Hill beach, Co Louth.

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