Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan is to examine whether a new investigation is needed into one of the most controversial killings involving members of the security forces.

Ms O'Loan has been asked by the British government to re-open files on the killing of three unarmed IRA men by the RUC in Co Armagh in 1982.

Gervaise McKerr was killed alongside Sean Burns and Eugene Toman near Lurgan. Their car was hit by over 100 bullets.

Three RUC members were later acquitted of the murders.

The case has been subject to the highest courts in the UK and Europe.

It was one of three alleged 'shoot to kill' incidents examined by former Manchester senior police officer John Stalker.

The British government and the police always denied allegations that the security forces had a shoot-to-kill policy, but the families have campaigned for a re-examination of the case.

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper today, Ms O'Loan said the British government had asked her office to look at the McKerr case.

However she stressed that she did not know whether her office would have the legal power to investigate it.