Hamill Inquiry begins public hearings

Eleven years after his sectarian murder, the Robert Hamill Inquiry has begun public hearings in Belfast. The Portadown catholic was beaten to death by loyalists in Portadown only a matter of yards from an RUC land rover, which contained four armed RUC officers. One of those officers, Robert Atkinson, has been accused of colluding with one of the suspects, telling him about the progress of the investigation and advising him to get rid of his clothes. The Inquiry also heard that the RUC had evidence within days of the murder that the officer concerned had protected one of the killers from prosecution.
Atkinson was eventually charged in relation to a conspiracy arising out of the alleged tip-offs that he gave the loyalist, but he was never prosecuted.
The Hamill family’s original solicitor, Rosemary Nelson, was murdered by loyalists amid further allegations of State collusion with loyalists in the area, a murder which is also the subject of an on-going Inquiry.