Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Not enough change, say victim's family

Marie Louise McCrory:

The family of the first civilian victim of the Troubles – who died after he was beaten by the RUC – have said they don't believe there had been enough change in policing.

Samuel Devenney (42), a father-of-nine from Derry, suffered internal injuries, a possible fracture to the skull and damage to his eyes and mouth when he was beaten up in his own home by members of the RUC in 1969.

He had been standing at the front door of his home in William Street on April 19 when RUC officers burst in chasing a number of young people, several of whom ran into the house.

Other members of the family were also injured in the incident.

It was said Mr Devenney and his family were beaten with batons. He died three months later.

The inquest attributed the death to natural causes.

An investigation into the death by Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan in 2001 found there had been a wall of silence by police officers during an investigation at the time of Mr Devenney's death.

On the day Sinn Féin asked its members to support policing in Dublin, Mr Devenney's son Harry last night (Sunday) said he did not believe there had been enough change in the police.

"These people are telling us they've changed, that they are not the RUC any more," he said.

"There is a chunk who are still the RUC.

"There was a conspiracy of silence in 1969 right up to the British government. That conspiracy of silence is still holding.

"Nuala O'Loan found massive, massive barriers. It was very, very disturbing."

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