Brother of man killed by loyalist paramilitaries takes legal action against Ministry of Defence

Belfast High Court
A general view of Belfast High court
Picture by: Paul Faith/PA Archive/PA Images
Date taken: 29-Aug-2012
The case focuses on Patrick ‘Packy’ McKee, 25 who had been on a night out when a car bomb exploded in Belfast in 1972.

The brother of a man killed in a no-warning loyalist bomb attack 50 years ago is suing police and the Ministry of Defence for allegedly shielding the paramilitaries from prosecution. Details of the legal action emerged ahead of the anniversary of the fatal attack at Conlon’s Bar in Belfast. Patrick ‘Packy’ McKee, 25, had been on a night out when a car bomb exploded outside the pub on Francis Street in the Smithfield area on September 30, 1972. He was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital but died from his injuries on the way. The blast was claimed by the Orange Loyalist Association, a cover name for the Ulster Volunteer Force. No-one has ever been charged in connection with the bombing. Mr McKee’s brother, Anthony, has initiated proceedings against the Ministry of Defence and Chief Constable of the PSNI amid claims that the paramilitaries responsible were protected from prosecution because they were State agents within the UVF. Papers lodged at the High Court in Belfast seek damages for misfeasance in public office and negligence in connection with the killing. Anthony McKee's solicitor, Gary Duffy of KRW Law, said: “The explosion has the typical features of a cover up by the State to protect intelligence sources. “The attack is remarkably similar to other such pub bombings carried out in the 1970s in inner Belfast, with a similar outcome that little to no-one faced questioning or prosecution.” Mr Duffy added: “The failures of the investigation only compounds the suspicion that there was tacit approval from the State for this bombing campaign and that this was, in effect, State-sanctioned murder.”

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