Saturday 25 November 2017

Murder probe after prison officer dies of bombing injuries

Adrian Ismay
Adrian Ismay

Lesley-Anne McKeown

Police have launched a murder inquiry after the death of a prison officer following a bombing in Northern Ireland.

A post-mortem examination has concluded Adrian Ismay died as a direct result of the injuries sustained when the booby-trapped device detonated under his van on March 4.

Detective Chief Inspector Richard Campbell, from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, described it as another difficult day for the Ismay family, his friends and colleagues "as they struggle to come to terms with the events of the past 12 days".

Mr Ismay, a 52-year-old father-of-three, suffered leg injuries in the blast and was said to be recovering well from surgery. But he was taken back into hospital on Tuesday morning and died.

Dissident republican group the New IRA, which opposes the peace process, said it was responsible for the bomb attack and claimed to have used the plastic explosive Semtex and a commercial detonator, but police have released no details.

One man has been charged with attempted murder and causing an explosion with intent to endanger life.

DCI Campbell said officers are liaising with the Public Prosecution Service.

The attack happened in the Hillsborough Drive area of Belfast, off Woodstock Road, a predominantly loyalist area in the east of the city.

Police commanders warned violent dissidents were trying to escalate their activities to mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising - a pivotal date in the republican calendar.

The Prison Officers Association (POA) said Mr Ismay was the victim of a cowardly and atrocious bomb attack.

"This was a horrendous act that has no place or serves no purpose on this island. A shameful and cowardly act such as this is reminiscent of difficult times that we had all thought were left in the past," it said in a statement.

"It is shameful that any person on their way to work on this island can be singled out and attacked in this way.

"This totally senseless and cowardly act has no place or purpose on an island, which is now at peace. We assured our colleagues in the POA in Northern Ireland of our ongoing support through these difficult times."

Mr Ismay, a veteran officer who had more than 28 years service with the Northern Ireland Prison Service, trained other guards at HMP Maghaberry near Lisburn and was based at Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre in south Belfast.

Irish Independent

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