Veteran republican charged in McConville case

Saturday 22 March 2014 07.12
Jean McConville was abducted by the IRA at her home at Divis Flats in December 1972
Jean McConville was abducted by the IRA at her home at Divis Flats in December 1972

A veteran republican has been charged in connection with the murder more than 40 years ago of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville.

Ivor Bell is due to appear in court in Belfast tomorrow accused of aiding and abetting in the murder as well as membership of the IRA.

The 77-year-old was detained at his home in the Andersonstown district of west Belfast on Tuesday.

Mrs McConville, 37, was abducted by the IRA at her home at Divis Flats, Belfast, in December 1972, shot dead and then secretly buried.

Her murder is one of the most notorious incidents of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

She was dragged away from her children by a IRA gang of up to 12 men and women after being accused her of passing information to the British Army in Belfast at the time.

An investigation later carried out by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman rejected the allegations.

She was shot in the back of the head and buried 80km from her home.

The IRA did not admit her murder until 1999 when information was passed on to gardaí.

She became one of the so-called Disappeared, and it was not until August 2003 that her remains were eventually found on Shelling Hill beach, Co Louth.

Nobody has ever been charged with her murder.

Mr Bell was among of a delegation of republicans which included Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and a former IRA commander in Derry who were flown by the RAF to London to have ceasefire talks with British ministers in 1972.

However, the truce collapsed within days.