1. ITV Report

'No evidence of collusion' in pensioner murder

76-year-old Roseann Mallon was murdered by loyalist terrorists in Co Tyrone in 1994. Credit: UTV archive

A coroner has found neither direct nor indirect collusion between the security forces and loyalists in the 1994 murder of a pensioner in Co Tyrone.

Roseann Mallon, 76, had been sitting in her sister-in-law's house between 10.30pm and midnight on May 8 when she was shot dead by loyalist terrorists.

The pensioner was hit multiple times when gunmen from the outlawed UVF indiscriminately opened fire on the bungalow at Cullenrammer Road on the edge of Dungannon.

The UVF said its notorious mid Ulster brigade was responsible and was targeting two of Ms Mallon's nephews, Christopher Mallon - who was not home at the time - and Martin Mallon, who lived half-a-mile away.

The pensioner was at her sister-in-law's house when she was shot dead. Credit: UTV archive

An inquest into Ms Mallon's death heard that security forces had installed two cameras in the area to monitor the two men.

It heard evidence that the cameras were monitored by a soldier to establish daytime patterns, but were turned off at night to preserve battery life – and only showed the front of the house.

However, presiding coroner Lord Justice Weir questioned why RUC Special Branch had not handed over footage from the camera to the police investigating team led by Detective Chief Inspector Kenneth McFarland.

"This was, to say the least, deeply unsatisfactory," he said.

Lord Justice Weir added of the decision not to hand the tape to the murder investigation:"It is difficult to understand and has not been explained."

No one has ever been convicted over Ms Mallon's death, although high-profile killer Billy Wright - who was murdered in 1997 - and two other loyalists were arrested and questioned.

Credit: UTV archive

The interview notes had been held at Gough Barracks in Co Armagh, and the inquest surmised that they had been destroyed.

Police Officers' journals were also not available to the inquest.

Lord Justice Weir said of that: "I simply do not know what the practical effect of all or any of these matters may have been

"Certainly, taken cumulatively, they do not inspire any feeling of confidence in the way in which the police investigation was conducted or the materials gathered in the course of it preserved so as to be available to the inquest or, perhaps, to some further investigative or prosecutorial endeavour in the future."

Concluding his findings, he told the inquest that he does "not find direct or indirect evidence of collusion or anything from which I could infer collusion from the evidence which has been brought before me".

Lord Justice Weir described Ms Mallon as an "entirely innocent victim", "a defenceless lady of mature years and blameless character" killed in a "planned unprovoked sectarian attack".

"The deceased was shot for no reason other than she happened to be a person present in a Catholic home," he told the inquest.

None of the Mallon family were in court in Belfast to hear the findings.