THE son of murdered Ardoyne man Samuel McLarnon says he “expected” that there wouldn’t be prosecutions in the wake of a new forensic review of the 1969 killing.
Samuel McLarnon (27) was shot dead while in the front room of his home in Herbert Street by a member of the RUC after a loyalist incursion into Ardoyne on August 15, 1969.
Now, a forensic scientist has reviewed the original pathology findings in relation to his death and has concluded that Mr McLarnon was ‘more likely’ shot dead by a police officer (now deceased) firing directly into his home.
The report states that the shot that killed Mr McLarnon was consistent with a 9 x 19mm calibre bullet fired from a Sterling sub machine gun or other unknown firearm of the same calibre. The Sterling sub machine was a weapon used by the police on the night in question. Significantly the expert has concluded that the shots were fired directly at the window of number 37 Herbert Street and that it is unlikely that three shots fired from the junction would all have been ricochets which hit a single window.
The PPS correspondence further stated that Mr McLarnon was likely shot dead by Officer G who in a statement at the time said that he returned fire at a sniper shooting from a house on the left side of Herbert Street.
The PPS have also confirmed that Officer G is now deceased and they will not be pursuing a prosecution in this case.
The McLarnon family have always maintained that Samuel McLarnon was an innocent man shot dead by the RUC or B Specials who were not justified in using force.
Speaking to the North Belfast News, son Sam, who was just two-years-old on that fateful night, said: “I welcome the findings regarding clarifying direct fire and the link to a Sterling sub machine gun. I have also learnt that Officer G is now deceased.
The PPS today issued decisions relating to the August 1969 deaths of Patrick Rooney and Hugh McCabe. We also provided advice to @PONIPressOffice in respect of the death of Samuel McLarnon. https://t.co/JfhypLtuTc— Public Prosecution Service (@thePPSNI) July 30, 2020
“It is disappointing there won’t be prosecutions. I sort of expected that because as time goes on, people pass away and that is the case here as well.
Commenting on the correspondence from the PPS, solicitor Pádraig Ó Muirigh said: “Whilst the McLarnon family welcome the findings of the forensic review they are disappointed that there has been no prosecution in this case. The family will take some time to consider the detailed correspondence from PPS before commenting further on it.
“These forensic findings further vindicate the McLarnon family’s long-standing view that their loved one was deliberately shot by the RUC/B Specials. They have always contested the RUC version of events that they were fired upon first.
“However, to date there has never been a thorough public examination of this death. The original inquest was deeply flawed and did not hear evidence from the available civilian witnesses."