Officer who claimed attempted murder by gunman no longer serving in PSNI

PA Images - compressed for web 
PSNI Police Service Northern Ireland logo badge generic
The PSNI have not explained why the investigation into the alleged shooting was dropped

By Tanya Fowles, Local Democracy Reporter An officer at the centre of a major investigation sparked by his claims of a confrontation with a lone gunman at his County Fermanagh home is no longer serving in the PSNI, it can be revealed.

An investigation was immediately launched into the alleged attempted murder of the officer during the early hours of January 2, 2020, in Kesh, resulting in the dramatic arrest of a male, who was later released without charge.

The high-profile incident drew widespread condemnation when it was disclosed the gunman, dressed entirely in black, pointed a shotgun directly at the officer.

He raised the alarm after allegedly noticing movement outside his home, and on opening the door to check, encountered the masked male.

It was claimed the gun failed to fire and the male fled on foot over fields in the direction of a football club.

Police attending the scene suggested “organised criminal elements may be responsible”.

Within hours, a detective chief Inspector confirmed a 37-year-old male had been arrested.

She told a news conference: “We firmly believe that this disturbing incident was a failed attempt to kill a local police officer.

“There are no words to describe those who would creep through the dark of night with nothing but death and destruction on their minds.

“Their actions stand in stark contrast to those officers, including their intended target, who every day police our communities with dignity, respect and courtesy.”

Assuring the investigation would be “thorough and robust”, the detective added police were keeping an open mind as to the motivation behind the attack; however, a primary line of inquiry was that organised criminal elements may have been responsible.

After a short time in custody the male was released on bail pending further inquiries, and it is understood no firearm was ever discovered.

It would later emerge the PSNI quietly closed the investigation, and with the male arrested in the aftermath no longer suspected of involvement, his bail terms had been removed.

When contacted more than a year later, a PSNI spokesperson said: “Inquiries in relation to the attempted murder investigation have concluded and the matter closed, pending any further evidence.

“The man arrested on January 2, 2020, following this incident is no longer a subject of this investigation.”

Separately, it emerged the officer in question had been leading an investigation into an alleged case of perverting the course of justice.

He was subsequently replaced in that matter, and it has now been confirmed he is “no longer a serving officer within the PSNI”.

It was also pointed out he never made any direct allegation against the arrested male.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.