Northern Ireland

Charlie Armstrong and Gerry Evans had 'violent' deaths

Gerry Evans Image copyright Other
Image caption Gerry Evans went missing aged 24 in County Monaghan in 1979

A young man had his hands tied behind his back before he was killed by republican paramilitaries, an inquest in Dublin is told.

Gerry Evans, 24, from Crossmaglen, went missing in March 1979. His body was found in 2010 in County Louth.

He is one of the Disappeared, 16 people abducted and murdered in the Troubles.

An earlier inquest on Wednesday also heard that shotgun residue was found in the car of Charlie Armstrong who went missing in 1981.

Dublin City Coroner's Court heard Mr Evans' body was weighed down with stones when it was located in a bog at Carrickrobin, County Louth, on 15 October 2010.

Det Insp Joseph Crowe, of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, said he was satisfied the young man had suffered an "unnatural and violent death".

"The totality of the circumstances is what we are relying on to come to this conclusion," he said.

"Gerry Evans was found about 25 miles away from where he was last seen. He was not just walking there. He was actually abducted, taken away and subsequently found."

Too badly decomposed

The Republic's state pathologist, Professor Marie Cassidy, told the Dublin inquest that the bones showed no evidence of trauma from a wound or a gunshot.

Geoff Knupfer, head of the investigation team with the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR), revealed both men's bodies had been too badly decomposed to determine exact causes of death.

Referring to Mr Evans he said: "The deceased's hands appeared to have been tied behind his back when the body was buried."

Discussing Mr Armstrong's case, he said: "Due to the age and state of the remains the cause of death was inconclusive."

Mr Armstrong was on his way to Mass in Crossmaglen, when he went missing. His remains were found in a bog in County Monaghan in July 2010.

At the inquest, Mr Knupfer said a piece of twine found under the body may have been used as a bind.

The pathologist Ms Cassidy said Mr Armstrong's skull was badly damaged.

"This may suggest there had been some injuries, but I can't prove it," she added.

Although no organisation has claimed responsibility for either of the men's deaths, the inquests found both had died at the hands of paramilitaries.

Weighed down with stones

Image copyright bbc
Image caption Mr Armstrong went missing on his way to Mass in 1981

The IRA is believed to have abducted and murdered 57-year-old Mr Armstrong, one of the so-called Disappeared.

His remains - weighed down with stones - were found less than 300 metres away from the bodies of John McClory and Brian McKinney, whose murders were admitted by the IRA.

Shotgun residue was found in the front passenger seat and boot of Mr Armstrong's car, located in Dundalk the day after he vanished.

Mr Armstrong's widow, Kathleen Armstrong, was supported in the courtroom by her five children and extended family.

She said 29 years after his disappearance, she was called to identify a number of personal items recovered from the bog, which included her late husband's dentures, a waistcoat he wore every Sunday, size seven brown slip-on shoes, socks and a St Brigid's Badge.

"I either stitched it on to his pocket or put it in there to keep him safe," she said.

Sixteen people were murdered by republican paramilitaries and secretly buried in isolated parts of Ireland during the Troubles.

Nine bodies of the Disappeared have been recovered.

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