Officer suspended over John Brady police station death

By Vincent Kearney
BBC NI home affairs correspondent

image captionJohn Brady died in Strand Road police station in Londonderry

A police officer in NI has been suspended and a number of others are to face disciplinary action over the death of a dissident republican.

John Brady died in Strand Road police station in Londonderry in October 2009.

A report published by the Police Ombudsman says a number of failings provided the 40-year-old with the opportunity to take his own life.

But there was no evidence that he had been harassed or mistreated.

The Real IRA member hanged himself in the police station's consultation room.

The veteran republican was coming to the end of a life sentence for murder, but was being questioned about an alleged assault after being arrested in Strabane while on weekend parole from prison.

His family insisted he would not have taken his own life because he was due to be released from prison five weeks later, and they called for a full investigation into the circumstances of his death.


Mr Brady's sister Lorna said on Wednesday the family was disappointed with the Police Ombudsman's findings and would proceed with civil action against the PSNI.

"We think it was a total whitewash and we didn't get answers to our core questions," she said.

"Who made the decision to charge John? How come the decision to charge him was already taken before he had seen his solicitor or had been interviewed?"

The report by the Police Ombudsman says there is no evidence that John Brady had been subjected to any form of harassment or inappropriate behaviour during his time in custody.

However, Al Hutchinson has recommended disciplinary action against a number of officers.

In a subsequent statement the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) offered its sympathies to the Brady family and added: "The conduct and actions of all officers involved have been thoroughly investigated by PONI (Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland).

"A file concerning this case has been forwarded to the PSNI Professional Standards Department and a decision has been taken to suspend one officer."

Mr Hutchinson said a 12-month investigation by his office had found that "several failings in the management and design of the custody suite at Strand Road were contributing factors in providing Mr Brady with the opportunity to self harm".

The Ombudsman says it was totally unacceptable that John Brady was left alone unsupervised in the consultation room on a total of nine occasions, for periods of up to more than 30 minutes at a time.

Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay said the suspended officer had been in charge of supervising the custody suite.

"We failed and we are deeply sorry for that," he said.

"We are not contesting the facts set out by the Ombudsman in any way."

More on this story

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.