Northern Ireland

Rosemary Nelson report 'due after NI elections'

Image caption Lurgan solicitor Rosemary Nelson was murdered in 1999

The findings of a public inquiry into the murder of Lurgan solicitor Rosemary Nelson will not be published until after the NI assembly elections.

Mrs Nelson, 40, died after a booby-trap bomb planted by loyalists exploded under her car in 1999.

An inquiry into allegations of security force collusion in her murder was held in 2009. A panel of three judges heard 130 days of testimony.

The inquiry team had hoped to have its report completed by the end of April.

NI Secretary Owen Paterson confirmed checks to ensure the report's contents did not endanger any individual or compromise national security had been completed.

But he said a date for the report's publication would not be set until after the election.

Mrs Nelson, a mother of three, was killed when a bomb planted by the Red Hand Defenders detonated under her car as she left her home in Lurgan on 15 March 1999.

The solicitor's case came to international prominence when human rights groups, including representatives of the United Nations, raised fears for her safety following claims she was being intimidated by security force members and loyalist paramilitaries.

In a statement to the House of Commons, Mr Paterson said: "The report has not been shown to me or to any other member of the government, or to any officials except the members of the small team which carried out the checking process.

"I have not been briefed on the contents of the report, nor have any officials other than those in the checking team. Government will not have sight of the report until the day before it is published."

He said that, as with the publication of the Bloody Sunday inquiry report, he would consider giving advance sight of the findings to those involved in the case, including the murdered solicitor's family.

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