PSNI failure meant Carrick murder victim was robbed of 'chance to ask for help', says family

The family of Co Antrim murder victim Glenn Quinn received an in-person apology from the PSNI Chief Constable on Tuesday for a failure to warn him about a threat to his life.

Jon Boucher was apologising on behalf of the PSNI for a failure to tell Mr Quinn that they had received a death threat about him on January 1st 2020, days before he was brutally bludgeoned to death in his Carrickfergus home on January 4th.

Nobody has ever been brought to justice for Mr Quinn's murder.

He was terminally ill at the time of the attack, and it is understood that he was targeted because he voiced criticism about an arson allegedly committed by the South East Antrim UDA.

This week, the Police Ombudsman published a report which found that the police failed to handle intelligence properly as Mr Quinn was not warned about the threat.

His mother, Ellen, sister Lesley and brother Martin met the Chief Constable about the report's findings on Tuesday.

They told UTV that it is a "relief" that the focus is now off the PSNI, and it can return to catching Glenn's killers.

"It meant a lot for him to come here and see us here," said Lesley.

"And we didn't want an apology from him because in our view, this isn't something that he should apologise for.

"This has happened before his tenure had started. All these incidents have happened before his time.

"But we had a good, constructive meeting with him. He heard us. He listened to us, and he took on board our feelings and our emotions and our reaction to this," she said.

The Police Ombudsman, Mrs Marie Anderson, said her enquiries had established that Mr Quinn had not been informed about the threat as he had not been associated on police systems with the address provided in the intelligence.“This led to police failing to identify him as a target,” she wrote in her report.

“However, if police had visited the address it is likely that they would have been able to confirm that he lived there, which would have verified the credibility of the threat.“This would have led to Mr Quinn being given a threat warning notice which would have provided him with an opportunity to consider police advice in respect of appropriate precautionary measures.”Mrs Anderson said visiting the address was “a reasonable line of enquiry that police ought to have pursued" and that failing to do so may have constituted a failure to comply with Article 2 Right to Life requirements.

She also wrote that it emerged a police patrol did visit the area, but did not knock the door, with a decision having been taken by a duty inspector that this may have caused unnecessary concern for the occupants.

In response to that finding, Lesley said: "They didn't give the chance for Glen to say, I need help. A simple thing like knock the door... all they had to do is go knock the door and ask him, did he need help?"

Mr Quinn's brother Martin said the passage of time without any convictions has made the family redouble their efforts to seek justice for Glenn, adding that the Ombudsman's investigations had been a distraction of sorts.

"We're not going away. If nothing else, we are getting stronger," he said.

"We're taking our heels and more and we're coming after them. I will never give up. We will never be out of the fight until we get them.

"You know, we were very clear that the Ombudsman report for us is almost like a distraction, and we're very clear as to where we want and what we want to happen.

"We want to make sure Glen's killers are brought to justice."

He described Glenn as ver popular and much loved in Carrick, happy-go-lucky, laid back and joked that he was always the tidy one in the house.

The Chief Constable was not available for interview after the meeting, but a statement from Deputy Chief Constable Chris Todd was issued when the Ombudsman report was published.

“First and foremost, on behalf of the Police Service, I want to apologise to the family of Glenn Quinn for the shortcomings in the handling of the threat assessment in the days leading up to his murder," the statement read.

"My thoughts are with Glenn’s family at this difficult time.  Those responsible for the brutal and senseless murder of Glenn need to be brought to justice and I would appeal for anyone with information to come forward in confidence.

“The Police Service accepts the learning highlighted by the Police Ombudsman during her investigation and we have now implemented recommendations to ensure that incidents of a similar nature do not occur again. 

"Formal training for officers required to make critical life and death decisions while responding to death threats has now been introduced.  In addition, instructions have also been issued to those involved in the management of threats to reinforce the importance of ensuring that all feasible operational steps are taken to mitigate the threat and ensure a consistent approach to the assessment of threat messages. 

"We must be a learning organisation and I take responsibility for that.

“The confidence of the communities we serve is at the forefront of our minds.  Keeping people safe will always be our priority and how safe people feel is an important factor in their quality of life.

"I want to reassure the public that our officers and staff are working around the clock to prevent crime and harm to individuals, protect the vulnerable and detect those who commit crime and bring them before the courts.

"Policing is a human endeavour and sometimes mistakes are made.  The scale and complexity of this work is exceptionally challenging.  Intelligence is not an exact science and police often have to work off a partial picture."

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