Thompson Family Appeal to Chief Constable to Intervene

02 September 2002

The family of murdered Derry woman Kathleen Thompson have appealed to the newly appointed Chief Constable, Hugh Orde, to intervene in the ongoing mystery over the existence of an investigation file into her death. The move comes following months of "frustration and prevarication" according to Minty Thompson, daughter of the victim. For over a year the family were told that "no investigation file in respect of the incident resulting in Mrs Thompson's death can be found."

Then, earlier this year and just hours before a television programme titled The Thompson File was due to be screened, the PSNI dramatically announced that a file had been found. The family learnt of this new development while watching the programme. Neither they, their solicitors or the Pat Finucane Centre who had been writing on their behalf were officially informed that a file had been found until after some time the programme had been shown.

Despite subsequent correspondence from the PSNI promising the family access to the investigation file no access has been granted. The PSNI informed the family on May 28 that the Regional Assistant Chief Constable "is happy to arrange a meeting with a member of the family to acquaint them with details of the investigation." On June 18 there were told that they would "contacted in due course." On July 28 the issue of access to the file was "receiving attention" according to the assistant Chief Constable.

According to Minty Thompson,

"The programme was broadcast six months ago. Our family have grown increasingly sceptical as to whether an actual file does in fact exist. There is a suspicion that the PSNI sought to minimise the negative publicity caused by the programme by claiming the existence of an investigation file where none in fact exists. The family are therefore appealing directly to the Chief Constable to clear this matter up as soon as possible. If a file exists we are demanding that the contents be made available to the family without further delay. We were promised it six months ago."

A spokesperson for the PFC added,

"recent events would vindicate our view that no actual investigation was ever carried out. Where there was no investigation there is no investigation file. As recently as July we accompanied the family of Annette Mc Gavigan to Strand Rd Barracks where we were assured that the family would have access to documents related to the investigation. As it turned out the PSNI were unable to produce a single document emanating from the RUC relating to the death of a 14 year old schoolgirl shot by the British Army in September 1971. There is therefore justified suspicion that no investigation was ever carried out into the death of Kathleen Thompson less than two months later, in November 1971. Its put-up or shut-up time. If a file exists then it should be produced without delay."