Gareth O'Connor went missing in May 2003, as Gordon Adair reports
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Gareth O'Connor murder suspect got On the Run letter

The PSNI has apologised to a murder victim's family after it emerged a man considered to be a chief suspect was mistakenly given an On the Run letter.

Gareth O'Connor was 24 when he disappeared in May 2003.

He had been on his way to Dundalk Garda Station to sign as part of his bail conditions after being charged with membership of the Real IRA.

He never got there. Two years later, a car containing his body was dragged from Newry Canal.

His family have always believed he was killed by the Provisional IRA, despite assurances to the contrary from senior figures in the republican movement.

On Monday, it emerged that in 2008 an On The Run letter was issued to a leading suspect.

Under the On the Runs scheme more than 200 people were told they were not wanted for paramilitary crimes committed before the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Go to next video: Family 'shocked' by On the Run letter