Samuel Devenny: Family call for release of secret files

Christine and Harry Devenny
Image caption Christine and Harry Devenny say they want to see the report about their father's death

The family of a Londonderry man who died after he was attacked by police 50 years ago has renewed calls for files about his death to be released.

Samuel Devenny died on 17 July 1969, three months after he and his family were assaulted by Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers.

He is regarded by many as the first victim of the Troubles.

A report about his death is being kept secret by the Metropolitan Police until 2022 at the earliest.

Mr Devenny was assaulted when police ran into his home on Derry's William Street after a group of young people.

His family maintains he died as a direct result of the injuries he sustained at the hands of the RUC officers.

His son Harry, who was in the house at the time of the attack, said the family does not understand why the report about his death, compiled in 1970, cannot be released.

"Why are they still refusing to give us those files after 50 years?" he asked.

"We are not asking for names or looking for prosecutions - we just want the report and they refuse to do it."

Image copyright Devenny family
Image caption Mr Devenny died on 17 July 1969, three months after being assaulted by RUC officers

The report into Mr Devenny's death was compiled after Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Kenneth Drury conducted an independent inquiry.

Twelve copies of that report were delivered at the time to the then RUC Chief Constable Sir Arthur Young and government figures.

It established that the attack on the Devenny family had been carried out by RUC officers.

But it was unable to identify those officers, according to a Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman investigation in 2001.

In 2014, the Metropolitan Police turned down a freedom of information request for the report to be released.

Harry Devenny said he was concerned the report could be withheld beyond 2022.

The family are determined to see the documents released, he added.

"Even on our worst days, we are never going to give up, we are never going to go away."

The BBC has contacted the Metropolitan Police for comment.