Press Statement from the family of Sean Brown (deceased)

07 May 2004

The family of Bellaghy man Sean Brown, who was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries on May 12 1997, have issued the following statement in relation to a fresh police investigation into his murder.

Damian Brown said,

“ In January this year the Police Ombudsman released a damning report on the conduct of the RUC investigation of the murder of my father. We were shocked and angered by the revelations contained in this report. Many issues remain unresolved as a result including the subsequent promotion of certain individuals within the PSNI and the mysterious disappearance of vital documents.

In light of the disturbing information regarding the original investigation we called for an outside police force to carry out any new investigation. Having carefully considered our very limited options and our pressing need to have this matter resolved without resort to a lengthy legal battle we have reached the following agreement with the Chief Constable Hugh Orde.

A new team will investigate the murder of my father. The team will include detectives transferred from British forces and will be advised by an external Senior Detective from Britain. No officer will have had involvement in the original investigation. No officer will be included who is, or has been, a member of C3 or Special Branch. The investigation will have full access to all intelligence relevant to the murder of Sean Brown. Where relevant linked incidents are identified these will also be re-investigated. Two other murders were carried out using the same weapon.

Regular consultations will be held between the PSNI, the external Senior Detective and the family who will be supported by an advisory group appointed by them. This will include their solicitor, Kevin Winters, a representative of the Pat Finucane Centre and a nominee of the Irish Government.

The Brown family recognise and share the many doubts held by potential witnesses, particularly in south Derry, as to the independence of any new investigation. As a result agreement has also been reached whereby witnesses can contact Kevin Winters & Co or the Pat Finucane Centre directly and arrangements will be made for statements to be taken at a neutral venue by a detective from outside of Northern Ireland.

The trauma suffered by our family following the murder of our father in 1997 was compounded by the subsequent RUC non-investigation. We are determined not to allow this to happen again. We will co-operate with this investigation and are willing to show good will. That co-operation and goodwill will be withdrawn immediately if we believe that the re-investigation is anything but professional, thorough and independent.

The Brown family have no further response to make at this time.

Contact Kevin Winters at 07976070020 or the Pat Finucane Centre at 07989323418