Northern Ireland

Jean McConville murder: Decision on Ivor Bell case expected next week

Veteran republican Ivor Bell is charged with aiding and abetting the murder of Jean McConville Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Veteran republican Ivor Bell is charged with aiding and abetting the murder of Jean McConville

A decision on whether a veteran republican should stand trial for involvement in the murder of a mother-of-10 could be made next week, a court has heard.

Ivor Bell is charged with aiding and abetting the kidnap, killing and secret burial of Jean McConville in 1972.

The 79-year-old, from Ramoan Gardens in west Belfast, is further charged with membership of the IRA.

The IRA kidnapped 37-year-old Mrs McConville in front of her children.

She was wrongly accused of being an informer.

At Belfast Magistrates Court on Wednesday, the judge said she would consider whether the evidence, heard during a two-day preliminary enquiry, was strong enough to return the accused for trial.

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Widowed mother of 10 Jean McConville was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1972

She said she would try to get a decision through by July 7.

Mrs McConville, a widow, was dragged from her home in the Divis flats by an IRA gang of up to 12 men and women after being accused of passing information to the British Army in Belfast - an allegation dismissed by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman.

She was shot in the back of the head and buried 50 miles from her home.

The IRA did not admit her murder until 1999, when information was passed to police in the Republic of Ireland.

In August 2003, her remains were found on Shelling Hill beach, Co Louth, by a member of the public.

Nobody has been convicted for her murder, one of the most notorious of the Troubles.

Part of the Crown's case against Mr Bell is based on a tape of interviews police secured from an oral history archive collated by Boston College.

It is alleged one of the interviews was given by Mr Bell - a claim the defendant denies.

The case was adjourned for mention on 5 July.

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