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Friday 14 December 2018

'I can't risk my life by saying who murdered my mother'

Michael McConville, son of the Jean McConville
Michael McConville, son of the Jean McConville

Michael McHugh and David Young

THE son of murdered Jean McConville says he knows who is responsible – but will not tell police in case he is shot.

Michael McConville said he recognised local faces when the gang arrived to drag his mother away screaming in terror, but if he told detectives who they were he would be considered an informer.

He was speaking as police quizzed Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams about the killing of the mother of 10 in 1972 – a case the veteran republican vehemently denies any involvement in.

Mr McConville said: "Everybody thinks that the IRA has gone away but they have not. If we tell, we will be shot."

He also said the murder and secret burial of his mother by the IRA meant any trial should be held in the International Criminal Court.

"These people should be brought to court in the Hague for war crimes because that's what this is," he said.

"This happened in the Second World War and Bosnia – the people who took people out into the woods and shot them and secretly buried them were brought up for war crimes. What's the difference between Europe and here?

"There is no difference in my eyes."

Mr McConville relived the harrowing final moments he spent with his mother as Mr Adams was questioned by the PSNI yesterday.

He said his mother was taken down the stairs of a high-rise block of flats, bundled into a van and never seen again, wrongly suspected of informing security forces in west Belfast.

"People barged their way in, some had masks and some had not," he recalled. He recognised some of the faces. "We knew these people by name and they knew us by name.

"We held on to our mother and crying and screaming and our mother was crying, she was squealing as well."

Her abductors told her family they were only taking her for a short period of time and allowed another son to leave the room with her.

"Once in the stairwell they put a gun to his head and told him to "f*** off".

The children looked out the window and saw the gang putting their mother into a van, which drove off with one car in front and one behind.

Mr McConville, who was 11 at the time, added: "As a child I was thinking why do people do this, the brutality of what they did the night before, why do this to my mother?"

The day before she vanished, the IRA had come to a bingo hall and took her outside, beating her until she did not know where she was, Mr McConville said.

She was found, disorientated and wandering the streets, by the British army.

"She had cuts and bruises all over her face and around her arms and legs, she said that the IRA had done it.

"We wanted her to go to her mother's house, my grandmother lived in east Belfast, (but) she said she was not going as she had nothing to hide.

He added: "The IRA robbed a family of their mother growing old, they took everything away from us."

Irish Independent

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