Chinook crash widows angry at PSNI ‘indifference’ on files

Widows of two men killed in the Mull of Kintyre Chinook crash have expressed anger at apparent indifference from the PSNI about the possibility of the files relating to the case being destroyed.

Friday, 25th January 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:02 pm
An Army Chinook similar to the one that crashed on the Mull of Kintrye in 1994 with the death of all 29 people on board

This year could see the MoD destroying the official files relating to the crash, meaning the true cause of the crash may never been known.

The RAF helicopter was carrying 25 of NI’s top intelligence officers to a meeting in Scotland when it crashed on the Mull of Kintyre in 1994, killing all 29 people on board.

The MoD says that all related files which were closed in 1995/96 will be reviewed this year for disposal or disclosure, under the 30-year rule.

While pilots Flt Lts Jonathan Tapper and Richard Cook were initially found guilty of gross negligence and blamed for the crash, a campaign by friends and family saw them completely cleared in 2011.

However, that review did not attempt to determine what caused the crash. As a result, some relatives and campaigners want all files released under the 30-year rule so that they can consider the documents for themselves.

When approached by the News Letter, the PSNI did not give any indication of any interest in the survival of the files.

Chief Supt David Moore said: “You have raised matters regarding public records legislation concerning the MoD. This is not a matter for the Police Service of Northern Ireland to comment on.”

But Dr Susan Phoenix, whose husband RUC Det Supt Ian Phoenix was killed, expressed anger with the response.

“I am so surprised and really annoyed by the PSNI/RUC comments,” she said. “Just what are they thinking of, to have no interest in their fallen comrades?”

Ann Magee, widow of Special Branch Det Insp Kevin who died, said he would have called for the files’ release.

“The PSNI statement is difficult to see and read as it comes from someone who must have served in the RUC GC before 2001,” she said.

“Had the situation been reversed, I would like to think that my late husband, Kevin, would have shown somewhat more sensitivity and integrity in any statement concerning the crash. Perhaps though, Chief Supt Moore is not allowed a voice of his own. If so, how sad.”

The PSNI responded that it regularly commemorates the deaths of former colleagues.

“The PSNI regularly commemorates our former colleagues and we will continue to do so,” a spokeswoman said.

“We will never forget the sacrifice of those who died in service to the community.”